As a person navigates through the healing process there are many essentials to meeting mental health goals and lifestyle goals: self-care, routine, healthy coping skills and many others.

What is often forgotten is the essential and authentic human need for connection and support. Connection and support bring the knowledge that we are not alone and the feeling of acceptance and inspiration. Support groups provide this essential part of health. Support groups create a space of acceptance, encouragement, and connection. Most importantly, support groups fight one of the most frequently reported struggles — loneliness and isolation.

Many different factors can contribute to the feelings of isolation and loneliness. The end of a relationship, moving to a new location, a death, changes in jobs, job loss, working from home and new phases of life are some of the most common reasons for feelings of loneliness. Other factors that can contribute to a sense of isolation or loneliness can include physical illness, estrangement from family, being the primary caretaker to another, inability to attend events due to the financial cost, past trauma or lack of inclusion for other reasons.

Loneliness may not always be caused by the absence of people. Sometimes a person can feel lonely even if they are surrounded by other people.

Feeling isolated or lonely can result in a negative impact on mental and physical health, including:

  • Poor sleep
  • Depression
  • Anxiety and excessive worry
  • Appetite changes
  • Decreased self-care
  • Low self-esteem
  • Increased stress
  • Increased phobias, such as social phobia or leaving the home
  • Decreased energy and stamina

At Valle Vista Health System, the essentials of good mental health are acknowledged and addressed through multiple avenues including all levels of care and through offering the healing environment of the Outpatient Alumni Support Group. After you have completed a psychiatric outpatient group such as the Partial Hospitalization Program and/or the Psychiatric Intensive Outpatient Program, you will be invited to attend the Outpatient Alumni Support Group.

In the Outpatient Alumni Support Group, you will find people who have also completed a Valle Vista outpatient program and who understand the healing process. This support group is conducted and attended only by those who have completed these programs. The Alumni Support Group meets in person every other week and provides a consistent place to find community, connection and support.

An outpatient treatment program provides high quality services by trained professionals who will help you reach your mental health treatment goals. Once group treatment is completed, the need for social connection is still needed and wanted. Support groups can meet that need.

Benefits of Support Groups

  • Sense of community – feeling less alone
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Improved social skills
  • Increased hope
  • Increased self-understanding
  • Free, easy to access
  • Sense of purpose – helping others
  • A safe space to express yourself
  • Increased inspiration
  • Accountability
  • Increased confidence

Valle Vista is here to help

If you have completed one of Valle Vista Health System’s treatment programs and are experiencing any of the negative effects of isolation or loneliness, the Outpatient Alumni Program is a place to make positive, healthy connections and receive continued support.

Located in Greenwood, Indiana, Valle Vista Health System has been providing comprehensive behavioral health care to the community since 1983. We provide services for children, teens and adults. Our outpatient recovery center provides treatment that focuses specifically on drug addiction issues.

To begin a path to healing, connection and support call Valle Vista for a no cost assessment, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Elizabeth Wilkenson, LCSW manages Valle Vista’s adult outpatient psychiatric programs.