Chronic Illness Support Resources

Finding Support Group

  • When finding a support group to join, begin by asking your primary care physician or mental health professional. These health providers may be able to direct you towards support groups within your area and more specifically to those groups that are organized around a particular topic/illness (I.e., support groups for people with diabetes).
  • Another place to start when looking for a support group is Support Groups Central. Here you will find a curated list of support groups from other organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Health. On this website, you can also search for groups by topics such as depression, addiction and chronic illness.  When you’ve chosen your topic, you can see a curated list of meetings by title, date & time, the organization holding the meeting and whether or not the meeting is free.
  • In the event, that you prefer not to attend support groups in person, there are also online support groups. These can be especially helpful if you find that there are no support groups in your immediate area.
  • One such avenue is the app, Wisdo which allows you to join specific themed communities to discuss anything at any time with a variety of different people. Here, you can find or create communities for any topic that you would like support for. Within the app, you can also set goals for yourself and flag yourself as a potential “helper” or mentor” for other users who are going through experiences that you may have gone through in the past.

Personal Stories

Intersectional Narratives

  • Sick: A Memoir by Porochista Khakpour (2018)
    • This memoir tells the story of Khakpour’s emotional struggle with chronic illness, pain, misdiagnosis, mental illness, and addiction. Sick is “a candid, illuminating narrative of hope and uncertainty, boldly examining the deep impact of illness on one American-Iranian woman’s life”
  • Unrest (2017 Film)
    • Unrest is a first-person documentary film produced by Jennifer Brea in which she turns the camera on herself to show her struggle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). It explores how we, as a society, treat those with contested illnesses, or illnesses invisible to the naked eye that we cannot yet fully understand.
  • The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde (1980)
    • Audre Lorde was an American civil rights activist, writer, poet, librarian, and feminist. Her writing explores her intersectional identities as a Black woman, lesbian, mother, and warrior. The Cancer Journals is a nonfiction collection of journal entries and essays that depict her struggle with breast cancer and how it relates to her various identities.
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
    • This memoir details Kalanithi’s own experience as both a doctor and patient, as he was a neurosurgeon who diagnosed himself with stage IV metastatic lung cancer. It is an extremely moving story on Kalanithi’s struggle with terminal illness, identity, and mortality.
  • For more books about chronic illness, check out this link