Explore how to build a strong support system; building support is a skill that can be learned. It is important to remember you have just as much value as anyone else and you deserve support, attention, respect and love. Build a strong Support Team. YOU can do it!
The following is an excerpt from Wellness Recovery Action Plan –
The “go-to” WRAP book the recovery.
One of the most effective responses to mental health challenges often is reaching out to a very good friend, telling them how you are feeling or sharing an activity with them.
Everyone needs and deserves at least several key friends or supporters.
When you’re not feeling well you might feel there is no one you can turn to, but rest assured it’s not hopeless. You can take action to change the situation. Making friends is a skill like other skills – it can be learned. You may have trouble making friends and developing supporters for a lot of different reasons. They could include:
- Not feeling good about yourself
- You expect your friends to be perfect
- You are shy and don’t know how to reach out to others
- You are sensitive to any sign of rejection and react to it by giving up on the other person
- You have not had the opportunity to develop the social skills necessary to make and keep friends and supporters.
“My support team is absolutely crucial to my wellness. I maintain good relationships with supporters through honest communication – trying not to “burden” any one supporter too much.”
Remember, you have just as much value as anyone else. You deserve support, attention, respect and love. If you reach out to find people in the right places and give them the same kind of support, attention, respect, and love they give you, you will find that you have many strong supporters.
Develop new friends and supporters by:
- Joining a community activity or special interest group
- Listening closely to others when they are sharing with you
- Taking a course
- Going to sporting events, plays, concerts or movies
- Accepting others as they are
When you feel you have developed a special rapport with another person that feels like real friendship, make a plan to get together. The first time you meet could be a low key activity like eating lunch together or taking a walk.
Don’t overwhelm the person with phone calls. Use your intuition and common sense to determine when to call and how often. As you feel more comfortable with the other person, you’ll find that you talk and share more personal information. Make sure you have a mutual understanding that anything the two of you discuss is personal and absolutely confidential. Never make fun of what the other person thinks or feels.
Looking for more information to Develop a Strong Support System?
Check out these great WRAP resources:
Get the Support You Need Now – A structured support system for recovery is essential. While your recovery journey is yours alone, others help enrich your existence, and counter feelings of loneliness or isolation.
Maintaining Peer Support – Building a strong support system is only successful when you are able to maintain a support team.
Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD, developed Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) with a group of people with lived experience who were attending a mental health recovery workshop in 1997. She is the original author of the WRAP Red Book, as well as dozens of other WRAP books and materials. She has dedicated the last 30 years of her life to learning from people who have mental health issues; discovering the simple, safe, non-invasive ways they get well, stay well, and move forward in their lives; and then sharing what she has learned with others through keynote addresses, trainings, and the development of books, curriculums, and other resources. Now that she is retired, and that, as she intended, others are continuing to share what she has learned, she continues to learn from those who have mental health issues and those who support them. She is a frequent contributor to this site.