Online support groups: To join or not to join?

It is known that when faced with illness, patients not only seek advice and professional help from their doctors, but they also rely on support from other sources, like fellow patients, other health professionals, friends and family.

Support groups bring together people facing similar concerns or issues, for example a disease/illness/condition. As Mayo Clinic puts it, a support group is a gathering of people who share a common health concern or interest. For purposes of the tweetchat, by support group, we mean [Disease] support group or patient support group.

There are many support groups on a specific disease or condition (ex. various cancer groups, specific chronic conditions), some with online component found in social media networks like Facebook. In the Philippines for example, one very active disease support group is Psoriasis Philippines or PsorPhil.

It will be interesting to note what draws some to put up or join support groups or why some hesitate joining one. For different types of people interacting in an online support group for example, many challenges in managing a group are expected.

This Saturday, November 11, 9 PM Philippine time, let us discuss the following:

T1. What are the benefits of [Disease] support groups?

T2. Do you think [Disease] support groups should have an online or social media counterpart or component? Why?

T3. What are some issues of concern (ethical, etc.) of online support groups?

We are encouraging those who are currently members of any patient or [disease] support groups especially founders or administrators of online support groups to please do join us in this tweetchat and share your experiences with us. Just use the hashtag #HealthXPh in your tweets.

Narciso Tapia of #HealthXPh will moderate.