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Maureen: “If I tell someone without MS that I’m fatigued, they might say, ‘I know; I’m tired, too,’ but they don’t get that MS fatigue is entirely different.”

Paul: “You can’t be on a high all of the time. But if someone else has been through what I’m going through now, and they survived—I will, too,”

Ann: “...I had fallen the other day and scraped my cheek. Strangers in the street think you have been a victim of domestic violence...I told her how uneasy that made me feel. When she left, she said she felt the best she had felt in a month because we really do get it.”

Read other personal experiences from self-help groups

National MS Society self-help groups have different purposes and goals. Groups may focus on support, advocacy, education, or be more social in nature. Some groups also serve specific populations, such as young professionals, parents with MS, or African-Americans.

Personal Connections to MS

Self-Help Groups

Self-help groups bring together people who share a common life experience, for support, education, and mutual aid. Members of self-help groups share a belief that positive personal change happens through individual efforts with the support of others. There are over 1,800 National MS Society-affiliated self-help groups across the United States representing people with MS, family members, and friends.

The Society recognizes the valuable role self-help groups play in addressing the informational, emotional, and social support needs of our members.

Benefits of participating in a self-help group include:

  • learning new information and strategies for confronting problems
  • finding support from others with similar life experiences and the opportunity to help others
  • feeling empowered and more self-confident in coping with challenges

Here's a small sampling of self-help groups with specialized target audiences that you may find at your chapter…

For People Newly Diagnosed
A diagnosis of MS can be overwhelming. The goal of this type of group is to offer newly diagnosed persons support and address the major concerns.
"But You Look So Good!"
This type of self-help group is for people who experience invisible symptoms. The group offers support and information to those that hear, "You have MS? But you look so good…"
Just for Families
MS not only affects the person diagnosed, but family members as well. This type of group is a support and information system for other family members, whether they are in a care partner role or not.
Men's Group
Offers the support and information that men with MS may not get in other MS self-help groups. The groups offer their members the opportunity to share experiences with other men who may be going through what they are.

Much more...
Many self-help groups have developed from the grassroots efforts of people just like you. We encourage you to contact your chapter to discuss joining or forming a group that might be of interest to you.

For more information about self-help groups in your area, contact your chapter at 1-800-FIGHT-MS.

Alternative Self-Help Groups
In the Information Age, peer support can be found by lifting a receiver or clicking a mouse. And these options—telephone conferencing, Internet chat rooms, online message boards, and e-mail groups—provide more privacy than face-to-face meetings. Read more

MSWorld logoMSWorld,
the Society's collaborative partner, has sessions for kids, teens, parents, caregivers, and much more.
Chat icon



People with MS often find solace in talking with people who get it. So do family members and caregivers. For anyone who has been touched by MS, self-help groups may be wellsprings of friendship, information, and support.

For more information about the self-help groups in your area, contact your chapter at 1-800-FIGHT-MS (1-800-344-4867).


Last updated June 27, 2005