- Joining a severe asthma support group can help you connect with others who understand what you’re going through.
- Some support groups meet in person, while others hold discussions online. Each type has pros and cons, and it’s worth trying a few different groups to see which works best for you.
- You can also turn to loved ones, your healthcare team, and a therapist for additional support when you need it.
Severe asthma affects more than just your breathing — it can also impact your stress levels and emotional well-being. You might worry about experiencing an asthma attack and avoid certain situations or activities, or you may feel angry or upset about the need to manage a lifelong condition.
These feelings are completely valid, and you don’t need to endure them on your own. Joining a support group for people with severe asthma can help the experience feel less isolating.
These groups can also be a safe space to explore your challenges, share tips and resources, and connect with people who truly get what you’re going through.
Some severe asthma support groups meet in person, while others are held online. Here’s where to go to find one that fits your needs.
Online support groups can give you the opportunity to chat with others about your experience from the comfort of your own home. Some are run by private organizations and nonprofit groups, while others are hosted by everyday people like you, living with severe asthma.
Here are places to find online support groups for severe asthma:
- Asthma Support Group on Facebook. This private support group has more than 30,000 members. It is facilitated by several monitors and has a set of community guidelines intended to keep conversations kind and respectful.
- Better Breathers Network. Run by the American Lung Association (ALA), the Better Breathers Network is for people with asthma as well as other lung diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and lung cancer. In addition to discussion communities and live support meetings, the network also provides on-demand webcasts, condition management tools, and e-newsletters.
- Living with Asthma by Inspire. More than 8,000 people have become members of this online support group, which is run in partnership with the ALA. It offers resources as well as the chance to share experiences with others.
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). By joining the AAFA, you can access the organization’s support forums and other resources. The organization can also send you updates on its other offerings, including an upcoming support program for Black women with asthma.
You can meet others living with severe asthma in your community through an in-person support group. This can be particularly helpful if you want to learn more about local resources for people with asthma and feel less alone in your town or city.
Some in-person support groups may also offer virtual meetings to give people an opportunity to participate remotely during periods of physical distancing, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, or if they prefer online interaction.
Here are some places to start your search for a severe asthma support group that meets in person:
- Better Breathers Club. Run by the ALA, this program has facilitated in-person support groups for people with asthma and other lung diseases across the country for more than 40 years. Use the website’s search tool to look for an in-person support group near you.
- AAFA Support Groups. The AAFA has a number of local support groups in various states. Each group has a medical adviser. If there is no group in your area, you can work with the AAFA to start one.
- Your healthcare team. Local, in-person support groups aren’t always easy to find through online resources alone, but your doctor and other members of your healthcare team may be able to help you tap into a group in your area. A local clinic or community center may also have information to share.
A support group is much like any other gathering of people, in that it may be a better experience for some individuals than others. You may need to try a few support groups while you search for one that feels right.
Most support groups are confidential and operate on the basis of respect and trust among members. Before participating, try to learn about the group’s ground rules to make sure your personal values are upheld.
Here are some other tips on finding a support group that works for you:
- Ask for a referral. If you have friends or family with severe asthma, you can ask them about their experiences with specific support groups. Members of your healthcare team may also be able to refer you to severe asthma support groups for specific groups of people, such as young adults or African Americans.
- Research the group. Often you won’t know much about the group until you join. But in some cases, you can do some advance research into who started the group and who sponsors it. This can help you find out if the group is run by a company promoting a product, is affiliated with a trustworthy nonprofit, or is community-based.
- Learn about the facilitator. Many support groups are run by everyday individuals living with severe asthma. Some, like those affiliated with AAFA, have a medical adviser. There’s no one right choice of which is best — the question is which kind of group works for you.
- Find out how the group runs. Some support groups have a drop-in policy, while others hope members will try to attend on a set schedule. The group’s meeting times and location can be an important factor in whether it’s right for you.
A group is just one tool in building a support network for severe asthma. Your loved ones, including friends and family, can also be helpful people to lean on when you’re experiencing emotional challenges.
In addition, you can find support from:
- Healthcare professionals. Your doctor, nurses, and other members of your healthcare team can help you learn ways to manage asthma and its effects on your life. You may also consider speaking with a therapist or mental health professional for additional emotional support.
- Asthma experts. The ALA’s Lung Helpline offers advice from a medical expert on managing asthma and other lung conditions. The service is available over the phone or webchat in English and Spanish.
- Faith leaders. If you are a person of faith, reach out to your community leaders for individual emotional support.
Severe asthma can take a toll on your emotional health. While living with this condition can feel isolating, you don’t have to go through it alone. Joining a severe asthma support group can help you connect with other individuals who have firsthand experience with what you’re going through.
Some severe asthma support groups meet online, while others hold in-person gatherings. One type is not better than the other — it’s about finding a group that makes sense for you. Consider trying out a few different groups before settling on one or two.
There are also many other places to turn when you need additional emotional support. Your healthcare team, as well as a therapist, can become important resources for managing the condition and the stress it causes. You can also lean on friends and family when you need to.
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