What is a peer support group?
‘We all long for understanding, compassion and respect. And sometimes it’s easiest to find among others who share our situation or outlook’.
Peer Support Groups bring together people who have a particular challenge or life situation in common. They are also a place for people to give and receive both emotional and practical support as well as to exchange information. People with epilepsy, as well as their friends and families often find support groups valuable and a place where they can share personal experiences, get confirmation that their feelings are “normal”, educate others or just let off steam.
‘Membership of self-help and peer support groups allow members to feel accepted, provides the opportunity to compare experiences, obtain alternative ideas and coping strategies, increase knowledge, gain social support and access to increased social networks which improve social functioning and increase self-efficacy, thereby increasing self-management skills and improving quality of life.’ (Chronic Illness Alliance 2011)
New members are always welcome to any of our support groups. You can call us on 1300 761 487 for more information.
Click here to see our Calendar of Events for peer support groups.
Parents of children under 18 with epilepsy
Parents of adult children with epilepsy
The Youth Epilepsy Support (YES) network is aimed at 12 – 24 year olds. A range of fun and interesting activities and events are regularly organised. Contact us to get on the mailing list to receive updates or go to our Facebook page or blog.
Some of activities we’ve had include a Purple Party and Flash Mob for Purple Day, the Parkour Show ‘Jump First Ask Later’ at the Arts Centre; juggling and stilt walking class at a Circus Skills workshop; and taken the oath needed to reveal the tricks learned at the Magic Workshop at the Arts Centre.
‘I would like to thank you for all the events that you have offered this year. It has been great for my daughter’s confidence and independence.’
For teenagers 12 years to 19 years old, international online support can be accessed through The Tea Room (Epilepsy Scotland) http://www.thetea-room.com/being-a-member
For adults living with epilepsy there are a range of opportunities for meeting and socialising with others in similar situations. We have a number of support groups for adults and provide assistance with helping people to establish connections with existing groups or to start a new one in their local area.
Adult Getaways bring people together for a low cost weekend filled with a program of activities and opportunities to meet and spend time with others also living with epilepsy.
PARENTS OF CHILDREN UNDER 18 WITH EPILEPSY
For parents/carers of children 18 years old and under, diagnosed with epilepsy, it can be really useful to meet and talk with others in a similar situation. Often other parents can relate to how you feel and provide insights into what you have experienced or what may potentially lay ahead.
Throughout the year we organise a range of activities and events that provide parents/carers/families with opportunities to connect with others as well as have access to free or low cost events and activities.
A range of events aimed at bringing families together including Family Days Out and a Family Respite Weekend are held. Additionally, families can access free tickets to circus shows, magic shows, and the Variety Christmas Party. We also host epilepsy information sessions, with leading neurologists and neuro-psychologists.
PARENTS OF ADULTS WITH EPILEPSY
Epilepsy Foundation client services staff work with many adult clients who receive ongoing care and support from parents, carers and family members. In acknowledgement of the role played by these parents/carers a lunch was organised in September 2015. Those attending decided that there was value in meeting and since then the group (now called Parents of Adults with Epilepsy or ‘Pause’) meets twice a year.
There is either a topic for discussion or guest speaker invited. Last year Carers Victoria talked about the importance of ‘looking after yourself’ and two group members recently gave insights into their experiences and opened up discussion about options for accommodation in the community. All parents/carers with adult children (whether living with them or being supported in the community) are warmly welcomed.
The Women’s Epilepsy Network (WEN) meets around five times a year, bringing women together. Some of the activities the group take part in include visits to places of interest chosen by the group such as museums, galleries and day trips.
The first Men and All Things Epilepsy (MATES) group meeting/lunch was held in July 2016. This group brings together men living with epilepsy. Hear from other men as well as share aspects of your own journey. It’s casual, interesting, fun and free! The group meets four times a year with the next meeting in February 2017.