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Finding Support Groups for Teens

The transitional stage from childhood into adulthood can be filled with challenges that are difficult to process.

teens in support groupFortunately, nowadays there are a number of supportive tools and resources for teens, including a variety of therapeutic modalities, in addition to support groups. During adolescence, teens notoriously shift their attention from spending a majority of their free time with family to increasing the amount of time spent with peers and friends. The social and emotional influences that peers have on one another are substantial. For this reason, teen support groups can be beneficial. Los Angeles has a myriad of support groups with varying foci available to teens. 

Facilitators

Most facilitators specific to teen support groups are professional mental health clinicians such as group counselors, group therapists, group psychologists or social workers that have a specialization in the respective mental health area of focus in relation to teens. The purpose of the facilitator is to make sure the group conversations remain on topic as well as foster and maintain a safe environment for participants to share. Facilitators can also function as an additional resource for its participants in the case where one of its members may benefit from additional support. 

Participants

Each support group is made up of different adolescents. Every teen develops at his or her own pace and therefore the age range in a teen support group can vary from 12 years old to 19 years of age. Groups are typically assembled based on a single common focus, challenge and/ or need. Some groups will be divided by gender while other will not. There are support groups to help teens navigate all sorts of experiences (i.e. coping with disease, relationship problems, overcoming addiction, anger management, depression, death of a loved one, sexual abuse…etc.). It is important to make sure that a support group’s issues are consistent to and align with the specific needs of the teen.

How Are They Helpful

Teen support groups can be helpful for the social/ emotional development of an adolescent. Providing a teen with extra assistance in managing his or her emotions and processing experiences through a peer-focused supportive network can be incredibly beneficial. Support groups can help a teen work though teenage learning issues, various temptations that can arise during adolescence, and adolescent discipline. The point of a support group is to create a safe, nonjudgmental environment for teens to discuss and process feelings as well as listen to other teens talk about their feelings and experiences. Listening to others experiencing similar challenges can provide a sense comfort and support. Having an opportunity to provide and receive advice from peers can be an excellent way for teens to develop new and different skills to deal with problems they may face. 

Where To Look

There are a number of places to begin to search for an appropriate support group for your teen. Most mental health providers will be privy to a number of geographically convenient teen support group options available. Many primary care doctors’ and/ or pediatrician offices will have lists of support groups that may behoove your teen. Additionally, an Internet search can provide a plethora of various support group options including lists of local support group meetings with dates and times. 

For Information and Support 

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Specific Support Group Resources In Los Angeles

  1. Adolescents / Teenagers (14 to 19) Support Groups in Los Angeles County, CA: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/groups/adolescents-teenagers-14-to-19/ca/los-angeles-county
  2. Teen Line Youth Yellow Pages: Self-Help & Support Groups: https://teenlineonline.org/youth-yellow-pages/self-help-and-support-groups/
  3. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Support Groups: https://www.chla.org/support-groups
  4. Self-Help Support Groups: https://shareselfhelp.org/programs-share-the-self-help-and-recovery-exchange/self-help-support-groups/
  5. Nami, National Alliance on Mental Health: https://namila.org/supportgroups/