Patient, Family and Caregiver Support Groups

Support groups connect people facing similar challenges. Many people find the support they receive from a group made up of people who share similar experiences very helpful in managing their own health challenges.

The Frymoyer Community Health Resource Center at the University of Vermont Medical Center offers the following listing of reputable online support groups, networks, and communities for patients, their families, and caregivers.

If you are interested in a particular support group and cannot locate it, or would like additional information, send an email at resourcecenteratuvmhealth [dot] org (resourcecenter[at]uvmhealth[dot]org) or call (802) 847-8821


Alzheimer’s & Dementia

Alzheimer’s Association

ALZConnected, powered by the Alzheimer’s Association, is a free online community for everyone affected by Alzheimer’s or another dementia, including people with the disease, caregivers, family and friends, and individuals who have lost someone to Alzheimer’s.

https://www.alzconnected.org

UVMMC Dementia Family Caregiver Center

The Dementia Family Caregiver Center (DFCC) offers two groups for family caregivers. CARERS, an 8-week therapeutic group, enhances the knowledge, skills, and competence of family caregivers of people with dementia and is designed to increase the understanding of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia and address caregiver burden. TEACH, a 4-week therapeutic group, is for those new to caregiving and focuses on weekly themes such as self-care and future planning. For more information contact Lori McKenna at 802-847-4589.


Bereavement

General Grief — UVM Health Network Home Health & Hospice

Online support group for anyone that is grieving. Meets via Zoom twice a month. Contact Paul Weil at 802-860-4497 ext.3256 or Paul [dot] Weilatuvmhomehealth [dot] org (Paul[dot]Weil[at]uvmhomehealth[dot]org).

GENERAL GRIEF – UVM HEALTH NETWORK PORTER MEDICAL CENTER

Online Grief Support Groups offered in 8-week closed group increments. Offered 4 times a year. Contact Louella Richer at lricheratportermedical [dot] org (lricher[at]portermedical[dot]org) or (802) 388-4744.

Finding Hope in Grief - UVM Medical Center

Three-month grief group that meets weekly. New sessions begin in Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. Our goal is to build resiliency as we explore purpose and meaning of grief. Together, we will learn what to expect from our emotions and how to build rituals to care for our bodies and minds during each stage of grief.

Contact Elena Nichols at 802-847-4560

Loss of a Child — Compassionate Friends

The Compassionate Friends offers a variety of private Facebook Groups and live chats through an Online Support Community for those who are grieving the death of a child.

https://www.compassionatefriends.org/find-support/online-communities/

Suicide Loss — American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Healing Conversations gives those who have lost someone to suicide the opportunity to talk with our experienced volunteers by phone or video chat. These AFSP volunteers, who are themselves, survivors of suicide loss, offer understanding and guidance in the weeks and months following a suicide death.

https://afsp.org/find-support/ive-lost-someone/healing-conversations/

Children's Grief Group - University of Vermont Medical Center

We welcome any child between 5 - 16 y.o. to join us in learning about the grieving process, specifically focusing on developing coping strategies, through peer support and engaging activities. The group meets virtually on the last Saturday of the month from 10 - 11 a.m. Facilitated by the Child Life Department. Please contact Chelsie Lang at (802) 847-4069 or Chelsie [dot] Langatuvmhealth [dot] org (Chelsie[dot]Lang[at]uvmhealth[dot]org) for more details.

Empty Arms Vermont

Empty Arms Vermont serves individuals who are grieving miscarriage, stillbirth, termination for medical reasons or early infant death. A peer-facilitated support group for anyone who has experienced pregnancy or infant loss is offered online on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Another peer support group for Pregnancy After Loss is offered on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 7:30 pm (also online). Contact infoatemptyarmsvermont [dot] org or visit www.emptyarmsvermont.org/support


Brain Injury

BIAVT "VIRTUAL" BRAIN INJURY SUPPORT GROUP MEETING

This is a group that is open to everyone who has experienced a brain injury to share their story and to offer support in a safe and welcoming environment. Meets Monthly. Contact Joy at joyatbiavt [dot] org (joy[at]biavt[dot]org) for more information.


Cancer

Please refer to our listing of Cancer Support Groups for patients, families and caregivers.


Caregivers

Family Caregiver Alliance

Offers a Caregivers Community where caregivers and their other loved ones can share, interact, and learn from each other in a safe, supportive environment. The Family Caregiver Alliance also offers online support groups including a group for LGBT caregivers.

https://www.caregiver.org/support-groups

UVMMC Dementia Family Caregiver Center

The Dementia Family Caregiver Center (DFCC) offers two groups for family caregivers. CARERS, an 8-week therapeutic group, enhances the knowledge, skills, and competence of family caregivers of people with dementia and is designed to increase the understanding of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia and address caregiver burden. TEACH, a 4-week therapeutic group, is for those new to caregiving and focuses on weekly themes such as self-care and future planning. For more information contact Lori McKenna at 802-847-4589.


COVID-19

UVM Health Network COVID-19 Recovery Support Group

Open to all patients, family members, and caregivers experiencing the impact of long-COVID. The group meets on Zoom the third Wednesday of each month from 5 - 6 pm (EST) and is led by a UVM Medical Center physician. This confidential forum will provide an opportunity for those affected by long-COVID to share their experiences with ongoing symptoms, learn about the latest scientific research on the disease and recovery, and find resources.

To learn more or register please contact COVID19RecoverySupportatUVMHealth [dot] org.

 

PATIENT WELLNESS AND COPING SKILLS SUPPORT GROUP

Long Covid patients participate twice a month to support one another in coping with the changes and stresses that come along with this disease on physical, financial, occupational and relationship levels. The group is facilitated by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and is open to any Vermonter who is experiencing Long Covid. We are also planning to start a similar group for family/friends/caregivers. If anyone you know is interested in either group, please contact Gretchen [dot] KitsosatUVMHealth [dot] org (Gretchen[dot]Kitsos[at]UVMHealth[dot]org) for more information. This group is currently only open to those in the state of Vermont.


Diabetes

American Diabetes Association

Be empowered and encouraged through learning and chatting with others in this online community whether you are newly diagnosed, finding support for ongoing management, or a caregiver of someone who is living with diabetes. Specific online community groups for different types of diabetes.

https://community.diabetes.org/home


Family Support

Circle of Parents® - Prevent Child Abuse Vermont

Professionally facilitated, peer led self-help support group for parents and other caregivers. Circle of Parents® offers participants the opportunity to explore their parenting in a safe and confidential weekly group. Parents come together and share their experiences, challenges, and successes. Parents learn they are not alone, and they can change the way they raise their children. Circle of Parents® is co-led by professionally trained volunteer(s) and a parent leader, who is a group member. Meetings are usually for 1-1.5 hours via zoom. There are no fees or dues to attend.

Current offerings: 
•    Circle of Parents® of Children Birth-5 - (Mondays, 6 pm)
•    Circle of Parents® for Young Families - (Mondays, 7 pm)
•    Circle of Parents® in Recovery (Wednesdays, 5 pm) 
•    Circle of Parents® (open to all) (Wednesdays, 5:30 pm) 
•    Circle of Parents® of Teens - (Wednesdays, 7:30 pm)
•    Circle of Parents® for Single Moms - (Thursdays, 5:30 pm)
•    Circle of Parents® for NICU and Children with Special Needs (Thursdays, 4:30 pm) 

Email familysupportatpcavt [dot] org for more information.

GROW Family Center Free Support Group for NICU Families with Babies up to Age 1 

GROW's NICU project supports families with babies up to age 1 who have transitioned home with their infant and are starting to process the trauma and stress of the NICU. Peer connection is especially important to encourage families to engage with the community and to promote the parent and child’s wellbeing. Preregistration required for both groups. Visit the links below to create an account and register. 

ONLINE: Mondays 7:30 pm on Zoom: https://growfamilyvt.punchpass.com/classes?course=160286

IN PERSON: Thursdays 12-1 pm at Richmond Wellness, 53 Railroad Street, Richmond Vermont 05477. 
https://growfamilyvt.punchpass.com/classes?course=160283


Heart & Stroke

American Heart Association

Connect with heart patients, survivors and caregivers for heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Share your story with others, comment and give feedback on other’s stories, get answers to your questions from healthcare professionals, and speak to others on your own forum.

https://supportnetwork.heart.org/

UVM Medical Center Stroke Support Group

Online support group, open to all patients who have experienced a stroke, as well as their family members, caregivers and providers. Meets via Zoom on the first Tuesday of each month from 4-5 pm.  Contact Becky Louko, PT at (802) 847-0142 or Rebecca [dot] loukoatuvmhealth [dot] org for more information.


Lung Disease

American Lung Association

The American Lung Association supports free online communities that offer peer-to-peer support for COPD, Asthma, Pulmonary Fibrosis, and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. Start or respond to threads on the communities, upload photos and search for specific topics to find other members who share the same interests.

https://www.lung.org/support-community/online-support-communities


Mental Health

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Vermont Peer and Family Support Groups

Connection Recovery Support Groups are free, peer-led, and offer an opportunity to share your experiences and gain support from other group members. Connection Recovery Support Groups are unique because they follow a structured model to ensure you and others in the group have an opportunity to be heard and to get what you need. Groups are led by trained leaders with lived experience. The groups provide a safe place that offers respect, understanding, encouragement, and inspires hope to all who attend.

For more information and to register please visit Peer Support Groups - NamiVT or call (802) 876-7949

NAMI Family Support Group Meetings are free, 90-minute support groups for family and friends of individuals who live with a mental health condition. In a supportive and empathetic environment, members of the group listen and share their lived experiences, learned wisdom, and coping strategies with the goal of empowering, educating and reducing stigma. All meetings are facilitated by trained NAMI family members. The groups provide a safe place that offers respect, understanding, encouragement, and inspires hope to all who attend.

For more information and to register please visit Family Support Groups - NamiVT  or call (802) 876-7949


Migraine

Miles for Migraine

Our Migraine Community Groups offered through Zoom bring together the people just like you to connect, discover and share. We provide helpful resources and supportive discussions to help you better navigate life with migraine.

https://www.milesformigraine.org/migraine-community-groups/


Multiple Sclerosis

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

National MS Society online communities provide people affected by multiple sclerosis the support, information and connections they need —when they need them. These communities are led by trained volunteers who assist in leading conversations and ensuring community members have access to resources like the Society’s MS Navigator® program, crisis support, and other Society programs and information.

Community members can expect an environment that respects privacy and is free of hate speech, bullying and spamming.

https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Resources-Support/Find-Support/Online-Communities


Parkinson’s Disease

American Parkinson Disease Association & Smart Patients

Join the Smart Patients Parkinson’s Disease Community, ask questions, and support others who can learn from you.

https://www.smartpatients.com/partners/apda