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  3. Virtual Community Support Groups – Seeking Diagnosis or Newly Diagnosed

Virtual Community Support Groups – Seeking Diagnosis or Newly Diagnosed

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http://emerge.zohobookings.com.au/#/customer/newlydiagnosed

Who the group is for:

Our online support group sessions for people who are seeking a diagnosis or newly diagnosed with ME/CFS or Long COVID will run once a month and will consist of up to 12 participants. This group will be hosted by a professional facilitator through Emerge Australia. These sessions will take place through our virtual support space. The aim of the group is to connect people who are at a similar stage of their journey. This can offer support and reassurance and can create a space where you feel understood and validated.

Why should I attend?

Accessing support to connect with others who are going through similar experiences is one of the primary requests that we receive at Emerge Australia. We have designed this program to provide a safe space – with a facilitator – where people who are seeking a diagnosis or newly diagnosed with ME/CFS or Long COVID can connect once a month. Our virtual space provides the option to connect further online in the virtual discussion room which participants will have access to after each session.

To ensure that the support continues to be supported beyond the life of the program, a “volunteer community champions” pilot project is being developed. This will upskill community members to volunteer their time as group moderators. More information about this pilot project will be available in the new year. 

Outlines of the program:

Each group will have access to their own virtual support room, here you will find:

  • Five 60-minutes virtual support sessions run once a month for five months.
  • A professional facilitator who will run and support each session.
  • Access to the virtual room’s notice board that will provide a summary of the session or handout.
  • Access to the virtual support room’s discussion board, allowing you to engage and communicate with other participants between sessions.
  • Opportunity to participate in the volunteer community champions pilot project, that aims to enable your group to keep connected long after the 5 sessions have been completed.  

What Do you need to bring:

  • Laptop/iPad
  • There will be an introduction session hosted by Emerge Australia towards the end of January 2024 with facilitated session commencing in February.

Facilitator session will run from 2pm to 3pm (AEDT), once a month, on the following Monday in 2024

  • February 19
  • March 18
  • April 15
  • May 20
  • Jun 17

Following the five sessions, the group will have the option to continue in our ongoing virtual room, if a volunteer community champion, upskills into the moderator role.

For more information or if you have questions, please contact patientsupport@emerge.org.au

Meet your facilitator

Gretchen Netterfield:

I’ve been living with ME/CFS since I was a teenager. I was lucky enough to have some good years where I had a life, then some years where I had a tired life. I am now housebound and often bedbound. Before my health deteriorated, I had the privilege of working with amazing and courageous people as a counsellor and was also passionate about my role teaching counselling students. From the vantage point of my bed or couch, I’ve been ever so slowly working on trying to develop ME/CFS and Long Covid friendly digital resources to help normalise how hard chronic illness management is and hopefully help people feel slightly less isolated in their struggle to cope with a chronic illness.

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