Online Support Groups
Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work
MARCH 14, 2018
Sometime after 11 PM last night, the snow stopped. We awakened to still more shoveling (we do have a plow guy for the driveway), and great beauty. But I am so ready for spring!
Because everyone was snowed in yesterday, I had several FaceTime appointments with people whom I had planned to meet in my office. This is a new experience for me, and I am sure there is more to learn about how best to manage these conversations. However, it is immediately clear that seeing each other is a big improvement from a regular phone conversation when there are no visual cues. Some years ago, I managed to Breast Cancer section for Revolutionhealth.com. It was trying to compete with WebMD, and you know who won.... But, for a while, it was a really interesting and fun gig. One of my responsibilities was to offer an online breast cancer support group weekly, and we had participants from all over the globe. It was especially impressive that women cared enough to get up in the middle of the night to sign in from distant continents.
Even with no large geographic challenges, online support groups can be a wonderful resource for many people. Weather or illness or childcare responsibilities or just life can make it tough to get out to a support group. I continue to believe (maybe just because this has been what I do for so long) that being together in one room is better, but being together virtually can be pretty wonderful, too.
Cancer Care, an agency that provides many services and resources in the NYC area, also offers a number of online support groups that are open to anyone. This email came to me from one of their staff:
CancerCare offers online support groups and I suggest they call - 1-877-880-TNBC (8622) and speak with one of our oncology social workers who work with triple negative breast patients and their families. This phone line is specifically for people living with triple negative breast cancer, their family, partners, loved ones, caregivers & health care professionals - Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation Helpline in partnership with CancerCare.
The other option is to go to our website and sign up for an online support group - we have online groups for triple negative breast patients and other groups for mothers whose daughter has triple negative breast cancer:
https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.cancercare.org_support-5Fgroups&d=DwIFAw&c=WknmpdNpvrlj2B5K1aWVqL1SOiF30547pqSuOmtwXTQ&r=jaI9WzNFikgTe-S2CwIhF0hznvIwUZkNRzfBPcrcj8E&m=H2SPl-DjjRzW4q0oaeDbGfYbEAScnKxmjoYM2pokw-A&s=W5zHYpmxO862cxTBPDva2118mE6L4qVEs3A1OuSqgtg&e= as well as caregiver groups as well.
We currently offer 120 online support groups for people living with many different cancer types as well as online groups for their families, partners, caregivers as well as for young adults and older adults. CancerCare's main number is: 1-800-813-HOPE (4673) and our website is: www.cancercare.org
Check out their website for information, too, about everything else that they offer.