Why you should join a support group when your loved one is in prison

If you’re going through a tough time, then you’ve undoubtedly heard the tip “join a support group” or “find support.” This isn’t just something people say on a whim. It’s good advice.

You may feel like you either don’t have time for a support group, a support group won’t be helpful to you, or maybe you’re just not ready to confide in others. You may even be dreading hearing others talk about the things they’re going through since you have your own burdens to bear. There are many reasons you may be dragging your feet.

The thing is, you’re not alone in your struggle. Yes, the particulars may be unique and your feelings are yours, but it’s important to remember you don’t have to go through this by yourself. There are others who can support you, give you words of wisdom, and listen. If you don’t have a lot of close friends and family you’re comfortable talking to, a support group is an excellent way to find people who you can confide in. You’d be surprised how many participants feel like family once you get to know them. When you have others to talk about your experiences with and confide in, it can help you cope with whatever you are going through. If they’re going through something similar, they can share their experiences and even advice.

When we hold things in, stress builds up. We can feel anxious, depressed, and angry. Allowing others into our world by sharing can help us work through all that we’re bottling up. Also, when you’re in a support group it gives you the opportunity to help others. And, studies have shown that when we help others it tends to make us feel better.

Support groups don’t have to take a lot of time either. If you can carve out an hour or two, you can attend one in person. But there are also more timely and convenient options like online support groups. I have a Facebook group called Prisoner of Hope that’s private. It’s a safe and non-judgmental community set up to discuss emotional issues, share how to advocate against prison injustices and a place that offers helpful resources for families who have incarcerated loved ones. It’s as simple as joining the group and participating when you feel comfortable.

When you’re dealing with the complexities of having a loved one in prison, I hope you’ll look to others for help. There’s no reason to have to walk this road alone. Find those you can lean on for emotional support.

[Monalisa Johnson is a licensed and ordained minister of the gospel and a certified life coach as well as a mother and entrepreneur. In no way is anything that she writes, speaks or shares considered medical advice or clinical therapy. Consider all that you receive to be life coaching and guidance.]

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