Peer Support Groups
No one understands what it’s like to live with a chronic musculoskeletal condition quite like someone in the same boat.
Our Peer Support Groups are all about people with muscle, bone and joint conditions coming together to improve their health and wellbeing through discussion and other activities. At meetings members share information, ideas and experiences and provide emotional support to one another.
It's an opportunity to discuss with others how to deal with specific situations and how to adjust to living with a musculoskeletal condition. For some, receiving support from others who have similar experiences breaks the isolation and lessens the burden of living with a musculoskeletal condition. Lending support to other people can also be very rewarding.
“My doctor encouraged me to join the group. Fear had kept me a prisoner in my home for many years. The group has helped me learn to develop a full life without arthritis dominating everything”
Peer Support Groups are often started in the community by people living with a musculoskeletal condition. The structure of the group, the purpose and activities run are therefore determined by the needs and interests of the group members.
“I had to retire from work early because of my rheumatoid arthritis. It was then I decided to form a group rather than wait for someone else to do it”
Peer support can be provided in a range of ways
Groups can be supported by health professionals or community workers through the local community health service or other similar organisations. Whilst they may provide valuable organisational support and resources, it is ultimately up to the group members to decide what the group does.
Some groups are very informal and have small meetings and relaxed conversations, while other groups have a more formal structure with office bearers performing specific tasks, some groups will have guest speakers, and others groups have regular exercise classes such as warm water exercise and tai chi. Some groups are embracing technology and have their own websites, blogs, and Facebook pages.
It really is all about the needs and interests of the members, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ model. This means that groups may change over time - as the needs of the members change. Groups are a dynamic and interactive place for you to access support and information from people in a similar situation.
“The group gives me encouragement to ‘move it or lose it’ and to live more positively”
Our network of groups
Most of our groups are geographically based and may include members with a mix of different musculoskeletal conditions. There are also a number of groups that relate to specific conditions and age groups, and include:
Young adults (for people of working age)
Joining a Peer Support Group
Everyone is welcome at a Peer Support Group meeting. You can attend a meeting to get the feel for the group and to see if it’s the right fit for you. Take the opportunity to talk with others who at the group meetings and find out about the types of activities the group runs. Family members and friends are also welcome to attend.
Finding a group near you
You can find your nearest Peer Support Group, as well as contact details and travel directions, by using the Arthritis Map of Victoria.
Simply select the group you would like to find out about - for example arthritis support group or fibromyalgia support group, and coloured spots will appear on the Map in the area the group is located. Click on the spot for detailed information about the group.
Or you can type your postcode into the postcode search box at the bottom of the Map. The nearest groups to you will then appear.
Or you can ccall us for the details of the group nearest you. Call 03 8531 8000, or 1800 263 265 (toll free for country callers).
Starting a group
Want to start a group? If so, we can help. Contact our Peer Support Group Coordinator on 03 8531 8000, or 1800 263 265 (toll free for country callers) for information, advice and resources.
Peer Support Group manual
Download a copy of our peer support group manual:
Peer Support Groups: A guide to setting up and maintaining a Peer Support Group