Rheumatoid Arthritis Support

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

Support groups have been formed for people living with chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. There is sufficient evidence that arthritis support groups can provide multiple benefits including:-

  • Provide better coping skills by providing tips and practical advice
  • Provide solidarity and self confidence
  • Improve mood
  • Decrease pain
  • Provide relief from negative emotions, such as resentment, fear and hopelessness

Types of support group

There are several types of support groups available. While some are closed and unavailable to the public without preregistration, others are online chat sites and are open to all.

Some support groups are peer that are led by a fellow patient who focuses on sharing experiences, and learning from others’ experiences. Some support groups are educational and they focus on an expert’s presentation with questions from sufferers that are answered by the expert in the field.

How to choose a support group?

Some things to consider while joining a group include group size and changing needs. While a large group means more experiences, a smaller group may be more intimate and friendly. With age the needs for emotional and moral support change and the support group that is chosen needs to cater to these needs to be effective.

How to find support groups

To look for support groups one may go about in two ways. For online support, blogs, forums and social networking sites may be searched and for live groups the local chapter of the Arthritis Foundation may be sought for classes and support groups. Physicians and rheumatologists may also help patients choose their support groups.

Support groups in the UK

Some of the support groups suggested by National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) for United Kingdom include:

North of England

  • Blackpool NRAS Group – BADRAG - website: www.badrag.org.uk
  • Bolton NRAS Group - Bolton One, Moor Road, Bolton BL3 5BN
  • Cumbria NRAS Group - volunteers@nras.org.uk
  • Gateshead NRAS Group - Jacqui Binding 0191 445 5240 email lindsay.muse@ghnt.nhs.uk
  • Leeds NRAS Group
  • Middlesborough Group (non NRAS group) -
  • North Durham NRAS Group - volunteers@nras.org.uk or ndnras@singleton14.eclipse.co.uk
  • North East NRAS Group
  • Oldham NRAS Group
  • Sheffield NRAS Group
  • St Helens NRAS Group
  • York Group (non NRAS group) - Contact Susan on 01904 642227

London & South East

  • Ashford NRAS Group
  • NRAS Basingstoke - 0845 458 3969 or email kim@nras.org.uk
  • Canterbury NRAS Group (CRASH)
  • Hertfordshire NRAS Group (RA and Inflammatory)
  • Maidstone NRAS Group
  • Oxford NRAS Group
  • Pembury & Tunbridge Wells NRAS Group
  • Portsmouth Hospital Patient & Public Partnership
  • Reading (non NRAS group) - 0118 9776172 or website www.arthritismattersreading.co.uk
  • West Middlesex, Bucks & Berks NRAS Group - Uxbridge
  • West London NRAS Group - 0845 458 3969 or volunteers@nras.org.uk

East of England

  • Great Yarmouth NRAS Group - Kim at NRAS on 0845 458 3969 or email volunteers@nras.org.uk or meetingras2008@live.co.uk
  • Ipswich Rheumatoid Arthritis Group (non NRAS group) - Glenda Deakin on 07902 941 583
  • Luton & Dunstable RA Group (non NRAS Group)
  • Norwich Group (The RiNG) (non NRAS group)
  • Southend on Sea NRAS Group

South West England

  • Bath NRAS Group
  • Bristol (non NRAS Group) - Contact enidquest@talktalk.net
  • West Dorset NRAS Group – Dorchester
  • North Devon Group (non NRAS Group) - Contact 01271 322577
  • Plymouth NRAS Group
  • Mid Somerset NRAS Group – Taunton
  • Salisbury NRAS Group
  • Weston-super-Mare Group (WARM) - Facebook at Weston Area Rheumatoid Matters-NRAS or Dawn on 07772 522306 or 07882 840550
  • Yeovil NRAS Group - email kim@nras.org.uk

East & West Midlands

Scotland

  • Aberdeen (non NRAS group) - email atfisken@tiscali.co.uk; telephone to 01224 743 731
  • Friends of Highland Rheumatology Unit (non-NRAS group) - www.friendsofhru.co.uk
  • Loanhead Midlothian Rheumatoid Arthritis Group (Non NRAS group) - Karen on 07969 497299

Support groups in the USA

Support and information in United States of America may be found at:

  • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), Information Clearinghouse, National Institutes of Health. 1 AMS Circle, Bethesda, MD 20892-3675, Phone: 301-495-4484, Toll Free: 877-22-NIAMS (877-226-4267), TTY: 301-565-2966, Fax: 301-718-6366, Email: NIAMSinfo@mail.nih.gov, website: www.niams.nih.gov
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health, website: www.niaid.nih.gov/Pages/default.aspx, Phone: 301-496-5717
  • National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, website: nccam.nih.gov, Phone: 301-519-3153, Toll free: 888-644-6226
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), website: www.aaos.org
  • American College of Rheumatology , website: www.rheumatology.org
  • Arthritis Foundation, website: www.arthritis.org

Support groups in Australia

Some of the support groups in Australia include:

Support groups in Canada

Some of the support groups in Australia include:

Reviewed by , BA Hons (Cantab)

Further Reading

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2013

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