Virtual Support Groups
Support and healing is at the centre of everything we do at Rethink. It comes first, and so it’s our first priority. It’s what helps people in the breast cancer community feel empowered (whether you’re navigating a diagnosis yourself or a caregiver helping a loved one navigate one), it’s how we get to the point of being able to advocate, and it’s how we build community and rethink breast cancer together. We can’t truly rethink breast cancer without it. Our goal is to foster a safe space for you to get the support you need.
What are the Virtual Support Groups?
The Virtual Support Groups are group therapy and psychosocial support sessions that are facilitated and moderated by a professionally-trained and registered social worker or psychotherapist. They are an intentional space for people with breast cancer to come together to learn, share, feel seen, heard, supported and heal together. Our sessions are free and accessible to all, allowing people to connect with others from all over the world facing similar challenges in a meaningful way.
The social workers and psychotherapists from Rethink’s Healing Collective facilitate the sessions and provide psychoeducation so you can walk away with practical tools and tips on how to better cope with an experience the session topic aims to address. You will be able to ask the facilitator questions as well.
Rethink’s Support Program offers these Virtual Support Groups to the community for free. Our goal is to ensure we offer sessions are that accessible to anyone navigating breast cancer, at any stage, who needs support right now, while also understanding there is a need for sessions that are focused specifically on various stages of living with breast cancer.
Questions you may have:
Who are they for?
The Virtual Support Groups are currently for anyone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, is seeking support and community and resonates with a session topic. In the near future, we hope to expand this offering to caregivers — stay tuned!
We encourage those who attend to be comfortable with having their cameras turned on, even if they don’t feel comfortable with speaking or sharing — it really helps contribute to a safe space for others, especially in this virtual setting. We are all here together.
Please note that these group sessions are not a replacement for individual therapy, but are meant to help equip you with a toolkit that you can use to support yourself, provide support from a mental health professional and create a safe space for connecting with others who get it.
Where are they hosted?
The Virtual Support Groups are currently hosted on Zoom in a private room. The link to the Zoom room is different each time and is only sent out to those who have registered for the session.
When are they hosted?
We aim to have at least 2 sessions a month covering different topics. The sessions are often hosted at 1:00pm EST and 7:00pm EST. The duration of a session is typically an hour and a half.
How can I prepare?
We have put together a guide for how you can help contribute to a safe space for yourself and others, which can be accessed here. As someone attending a Virtual Support Group, this is so important to maintaining the integrity of the space and honouring everyone who is present to ensure everyone gets the most out of the session. We really appreciate it if you can read the guide before attending!
What can I expect?
Here’s a link to our tips for how you can get the best experience out of the Virtual Support Group and what you can do to help foster a safe space. We highly encourage you to read it before joining a session.
In a given session, there will always be a facilitator (social worker or psychotherapist from the Healing Collective) and a Rethink team member. The number of participants can be anywhere from 3 to 25 depending on the session and who ends up being able to show up.
Are Virtual Support Groups the same as Mentoring Matters?
No. The main difference is that our Virtual Support Groups are led by psychotherapists and social workers from our Healing Collective, whereas Mentoring Matters is led by trained peer support volunteers who have lived experience. Virtual Support Groups are a good place to get professional psychosocial support and education and Mentoring Matters is a good place to get support from peers and build community.
Can I participate in both Virtual Support Groups and Mentoring Matters?
Yes! The support you get from each program will be different, but complementary. While some topics will be the same or similar between the programs, the approach and discussion will be different. Topics for sessions are communicated ahead of time, so you can choose what kind of support you need and from where, based on your personal need.
How can I be the first to know?
Sign up to receive Rethink’s emails to be the first to know about these sessions, here. Sessions fill up incredibly fast, and there is often a waitlist. Given the nature of these sessions and intention to connect, we do have to limit the amount of seats available, but the sessions are ongoing, so we’re confident you’ll get in the next one!
What if I registered but no longer can join?
Please cancel your registration on Eventbrite so the next person in line on the waitlist can be notified and attend the session in your place! If you have any questions or trouble doing this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Blogs about the Virtual Support Groups
The back story
In understanding the mental health needs of people in the community, especially during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, we set out with a goal to make psychosocial making psychosocial support more accessible to people who were sitting on long waitlists, couldn’t afford (especially with the financial burden of cancer) private therapy or just wanted more support in their life. That’s when we launched our Virtual Support Groups. They were initiated as an urgent, short-term response, but we quickly learned how needed they were and continue to be in the community.
If you have any questions about our Virtual Support Groups, please reach out to email@example.com