The 5 Best Depression Support Groups of 2020

Find a community that helps you manage your mental health

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Our Top Picks

Depression support groups allow individuals with depression to talk about their experiences while offering each other encouragement, empathy, understanding, and support.

These types of groups are ideally suited to those who are already receiving treatment for depression from a mental health professional, but who also want a personalized connection with others who have been in the same situation and who can offer support.

While friends and family can provide support, they often don't have the same level of understanding as others who have been through the same experiences. In this way, the main benefits of joining a depression support group include ongoing social contact with others in the same position, opportunities to share struggles and work through solutions, and advice from mental health professionals, when they act as co-facilitators of support groups.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Mental Health America (MHA)

Mental Health America Logo

 Mental Health America

Mental Health America (MHA) is a free, community-based nonprofit founded in 1909 to help those living with mental health issues and to promote the mental health of Americans. The aim of MHA is to help people with their mental health through prevention, early identification, and integrated care.

The organization offers online support groups and discussion communities for a variety of mental health concerns through the Inspire platform. It's designed to connect patients, families, friends, and caregivers, so that they can exchange support and inspiration. Members of the community can post questions and problems to receive support from other members.

MHA also offers webinars to educate individuals, as well as a peer support specialist training program leading to a National Certification as a Peer Specialist (NCPS) credential.

Finally, Mental Health America offers an intervention called "It's My Life: Social Self-Directed Care" to help people build a network of friends and intimate relationships, which is particularly helpful if they are isolated or misunderstood by the people around them.

Best for Support Group Directory: Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Anxiety and Depression Association of America Logo

 Anxiety and Depression Association of America

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) offers a list of support groups for people with mental health struggles. These are not groups run by the ADAA itself, but rather a service that the organization provides to help individuals find communities that help them manage their depression and other mental health issues.

The ADAA lists both in-person and online support groups, so individuals should be able to either find one nearby or take advantage of technology to connect with a group.

In addition to a support group directory, the ADAA also provides webinars, podcasts, videos, books, and brochures to help support people's mental health needs, as well as an online anxiety and depression support community. In this way, the ADAA is a standout resource for initiating a search for a depression support group or for finding other resources to improve mental health.

It's important to note that participating in a support group is not a substitute for a diagnosis or treatment from a professional and that the role of communities such as those suggested by the ADAA and other organizations is to help people feel less alone and to have a support system to lean on when things are not going well.

There is no fee to join the online support community run by ADAA. Most in-person support groups listed in the directory will also be free to join, but it's best to inquire about any associated costs with local communities.

Best One-on-One: 7 Cups of Tea

7 Cups of Tea advertisement

7 Cups of Tea

7 Cups of Tea was founded to provide a peer-to-peer support network to bridge the gap for those who have neither a good friend to be a listener nor a therapist with whom to sort through life's problems. The service supports more than 1.3 million people per month and active listeners provide support in more than 140 languages across 189 countries.

It offers a supportive group of communities where individuals can share their struggles and offer support based on their own experiences. In addition to a depression support group, they offer communities for anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, and more. There are also daily check-in threads to share personal updates and check in on others.

7 Cups of Tea also offers one-on-one chat support with a volunteer listener. Listeners are trained to respond with empathy and help individuals navigate the issues they're facing.

There is no fee to join the 7 Cups of Tea support community or to use their one-on-one listening service. However, for professional support, 7 Cups also offers sessions with a therapist at a cost of about $150 per month. Through the service, people will be matched with an experienced, licensed therapist.

Best Local: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance logo

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

For those interested in finding a local, face-to-face support group for depression, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) has a complete directory where individuals can search by state or even non-U.S. locations.

While the DBSA connects individuals with local, in-person support communities, many of these groups will also use online meeting tools, social media, and email to communicate with individuals and families to provide resources and support.

The main purpose of DBSA support groups is to create a safe space for people to share their experiences and offer support. Meetings typically consist of general information, educational presentations, support group sharing, and individual sharing. They provide educational information and aim to promote understanding and reduce stigma. Each one has a medical advisor who can be contacted to answer specific questions.

Meetings are free and there is no cost to become a DBSA member. However, donations are accepted at each meeting to cover administrative costs. In most cases, there are no fees to join the support groups listed in the DBSA directory, but it is best to check with local support groups individually about associated costs.

Best Structured Group: NAMI Connection

NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group logo

 NAMI Connection

The NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group is unique because it follows a structured model for those recovering from mental illness. Groups are led by trained individuals who ensure that people have the opportunity to share their issues and receive support.

These communities are free for adults over the age of 18 with mental health conditions and meet weekly, biweekly, or monthly, depending on the location. Meetings are 90 minutes long, confidentiality is ensured, and there are no specific recommendations provided in terms of treatment or therapy.

NAMI Connection aims to offer hope and a sense of community. As with all support groups, empathy and understanding are the main goals rather than advice or solutions to problems.

However, by attending groups, the expectation is that people may learn from others' experiences and discover solutions on their own through empowerment. Rather than simply sharing problems in these communities, individuals are collectively devising solutions and making plans to improve their mental health.

There is no fee to join the NAMI recovery support groups.

How We Chose the Best Depression Support Groups

Support groups were chosen based on the reputation of the hosting organization, accessibility, specificity to depression, and breadth of resources. When choosing a support group, it's important to consider your own specific circumstances and needs.

For those who are looking for a more personal approach, we chose one-on-one support groups like Big White Wall and 7 Cups of Tea. We also handpicked the Anxiety and Depression Association of America as a general resource/directory where users could find in-person or online support groups specific to their needs.

What Are Depression Support Groups?

Depression support groups help individuals with depression connect with one another to provide and receive emotional support. The idea behind these communities is that the best person to offer empathy and understanding is someone else who has experienced what you are going through or who is walking through it right now.

Is a Depression Support Group Right for Me?

A depression support group may be right for you if you are already receiving treatment for depression or have completed treatment and are looking for additional support. Hearing from others who have had similar experiences may help you to feel less alone.

How Are Depression Support Groups Structured?

Depression support groups may be local groups run by community organizations, hospitals, clinics, or other support agencies. They can also take place in the form of online forums, chats, or message boards hosted by private or public organizations. Peer support groups are led by peers who have experienced depression, while more formal support groups may be co-led by health care professionals who can answer specific questions.

An online depression support group will usually have a forum moderator who volunteers to manage the group. As these groups usually run 24 hours a day and members communicate asynchronously (at different times), there is a need to manage discussions and make sure that members are not breaking the rules of the group.

How Much Do Depression Support Groups Cost?

The cost of a depression support group will depend on the organization. For the most part, these communities are available without charge. However, if you wish to receive one-on-one support, therapy, or use additional resources provided by these organizations, there may be a fee. It's best to inquire about costs before considering joining a support group.

Do These Groups Accept Insurance?

In general, support groups do not accept insurance because there is no fee to attend. However, if you wish to receive additional services that require a fee, it's best to inquire whether insurance might cover these costs.

Seek Help Now

If you are having a personal crisis and need to talk to someone immediately, visit our national helpline database.

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  1. Here to Help. Choosing a Support Group That's Right for You.

  2. NHS. Depression Support Groups.