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Start a Virtual Support Group to Help With Stresses of COVID-19

We are all feeling stress, anxiety and fear about the virus. All of us can help each other -- and we can do it from home and for free. This short video explains why this is so important and what we all can do.

Free Step-by-Step Guidelines and Tools

Welcome to this toolkit of free resources to organize your own small, virtual and confidential support group. The resources are for anyone -- whether you are a bus driver, bookkeeper, business owner, teacher or health care worker -- anyone wanting to help with the pandemic.

The resources have been used for over two decades to start support groups around the world. All of the resources can be freely shared if they are marked with the Creative Commons terms on the bottom.

All of this, as well as our ongoing direct help, is a free offering from the personnel in Action Learning Source, which has been helping people to successfully organize peer coaching groups around the world since 1995. The design of the groups is adapted from Authenticity Consulting's Authenticity Circles.

What Your Support Group Will Look Like

The purpose of your support group is to help your members -- including you -- to feel less stress, anxiety and fear, especially about the impacts of the virus on their lives. That comes from you all feeling heard and accepted in your group. It comes from you all sharing ongoing feedback, materials and especially thoughtful questions. It comes from each of you continuing to act on what's most important to you now.

In your customized support group, there will be from four to five members. They will meet in 90-minute sessions over the phone or Internet every couple of weeks. There will be six meetings in total. Each member will get time in a meeting to get help from other members. Your members will reach out between meetings to provide more support when needed.

How to Use These Resources

You can use these resources to provide very useful and meaningful help during this time of crisis. You can do it from home -- and you can do it for free. You don't need to be an expert. We help you every step of the way.

Be assured that the following tools have been used many times to efficiently start very useful support groups. Just apply each tool, one at a time. They build on each other. You might get a friend to work with you as a team. ( (The following tools use the phrases "support groups" and "peer coaching groups" interchangeably.)

You can do this! Your group members will agree that your group was one of the most transformative experiences in their lives.


"It is, without exception, the most impactful group process I have encountered, and I believe it could really help people in these uncertain times." – Andy Horsnell, Social Enterprise Solutions


Tools to Get Started

  1. How to Recruit Members
  2. How to Select the Technology for Your Group
  3. How to Prepare Members

Tools to Support Each Other

  1. How to Facilitate Support Groups
  2. Tips for Facilitating Virtual Peer Coaching Meetings
  3. How Members Can Support Each Other Between Meetings

Tools to End Your Group

  1. How to End Your Support Group
  2. How to Evaluate Your Support Group

Many Sources of Free Help

  1. Consider These Resources for Yourself and Others
  2. Pose Questions in Our Facebook Group
  3. Attend Office Hours With Experts
  4. Email Us

Optional - More Advanced Help if Desired

You do not need the following documents to facilitate your meetings. However, as you gain experience, you might become more interested in them.

  1. Advanced Techniques in Facilitating Peer Coaching Groups
  2. Frequently Asked Questions About Peer Coaching Groups
  3. Peer Coaching Group Basic Evaluation Questionnaire
  4. Test Your Knowledge of Peer Coaching Groups
  5. How to Acculturate Groups for Effective Facilitation

Are You Interested? Have Questions?

If so, then email us at
peersupport@StartSupportGroups.com

Please Register Your Group With Us

We have done extensive planning and development to provide these free resources and ongoing help to you. Our joy will come from knowing that people are using our help and how they are using it. We'd also like to know what else we can do for you.

We will NOT share any of your information with anyone else or use it for business solicitation. Please take one minute to fill out this online form.
Inform Us of Your Support Group


Acknowledgements

We would like to thank these sponsoring organizations:

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