We know that you continually face new challenges as a person living with MS. It is important to have access to all of the latest information in research, assistive technology, symptom management and healthy living – as well as to feel supported and to know that you are not alone.
The chapter has several different formats and groups that help provide valuable information and support in a friendly, comfortable environment.
- Self-Help Groups are made up of people who can share similar experiences in dealing with MS symptoms and how it may impact everyday living. Find a group in your area.
- Angel Visitation
- Counseling Services are provided on a short-term basis at no cost to people with MS
- Newly Diagnosed
- Professionally-Led Groups are led by mental health professionals who are trained in facilitating groups.
- Online Resources
The Angel Visitation Program provides emotional support and companionship to people living with MS who may be isolated. Angels share in various activities with those they visit. Some activities include visiting, arts and crafts, a leisurely walk or drive or even a much-needed shopping trip. The Angel and the person he or she visits agree upon activities ahead of time. Angels are not a personal transportation service or chore service. If you are living with MS and would like to have an Angel visit you, request one through this form. Or call 1-800-344-4867, option "1" for more information.
You can make a difference with just a few hours a month by visiting someone with MS who is in a nursing facility or who is unable to leave the home. If you would like to become an Angel visitor, please complete this form or call 1-800-344-4867, option "1" for more information.
Emotional reactions related to a diagnosis of MS may include disbelief, fear, anger, depression and guilt. Living with MS can sometimes be challenging, and so can the variety of emotional reactions a person may feel. Often, emotional health needs are overlooked, as many people are unsure where to begin. Finding someone to talk to can be an important first step. In an effort to address these emotional reactions, the chapter offers short-term professional counseling services. We have partnered with community therapists and Jewish Family Services to offer non-faith-based counseling services at no cost to people with MS. If you or someone you know could benefit from short-term professional counseling services, call 1-800-344-4867, option "1."
Sometimes it’s helpful to hear others’ stories, and how they have handled their personal challenges. This is a chance to listen, learn and share with others like you. These short-term professionally-led support groups are positive, supportive and informational! Each group meets for several sessions and is led by a licensed therapist who understands the unique aspects of living with MS. All groups and information shared will be kept confidential. View current groups or check the chapter calendar for upcoming sessions.
Research has shown that those who live successfully with a chronic illness stay involved in the world around them. Joining a self-help group can provide the emotional connections you need to cope with the uncertainty of living with MS.
Self-help groups are made up of people who can share similar experiences in dealing with MS symptoms and how it may impact everyday living. They are led by volunteers who have MS, and have received specific training from the Society to facilitate these groups for optimal benefit to everyone involved. Members of self-help groups share a belief that positive change happens through individual efforts with the support of others. The benefits include:
- Learning new information and strategies for confronting problems.
- Finding reassurance and support from others with similar experiences.
- Developing personal insights and achieving personal growth.
- The opportunity to be helpful to others and feel less isolated
- Learning to express feelings better and be more sensitive to others.
- Feeling empowered and more self-confident in coping with challenges.
- Developing a connection to a community and identification with a group.
- Maintaining strong bonds with family and friends is an important ingredient in a good life whether one has MS or not. Connecting with others who share a common life experience is one way to satisfy the need to know we are loved and cared for.
If you are uncertain about joining a self-help group, try out several groups until you find what works for you. If you are interested in attending or leading a self-help group or support group, check our listings for groups in your area, and call the contact person for more specific information on meeting times and places.
If you'd like to read more about emotional issues and MS, check out the National MS Society's brochure entitled, " Multiple Sclerosis and Your Emotions" available online or call 1-800-344-4867, option "1" for a free copy.