for Veterans and the Public
Join a support group
Some VA medical centers have a support group for Veterans with hepatitis C. You may want to ask your provider if your center has one that you can join for support and for more information about living with hepatitis C.
Joining a group of people who are facing the same challenges you are facing can have important benefits. These benefits include feeling better about yourself, making new friends, improving your mood, and better understanding your needs and those of your family. People in support groups often help each other deal with common experiences associated with having hepatitis C.
Support groups are especially helpful if you live alone or don't have family and friends nearby.
There are different types of support groups, from hotlines to face-to-face encounter groups. Here are descriptions of some of the most popular types, and suggestions about how to find them.
Find a hotline in your area by talking to a VA social worker in your hospital. Or look in the telephone book, in the yellow pages under "Social Service Organizations." Ask the hotline to "match" you with another person with a history like yours. He or she can give you practical advice and emotional support over the telephone.
- Professional help
Veterans with hepatitis C can get referrals to mental health professionals, such as psychologists, nurse therapists, clinical social workers, or psychiatrists. You will likely have a social worker who is part of the hepatitis C clinic where you will receive care. You can also get help for drug abuse.
- Self-help organizations
Self-help groups enable people to share experiences and pool their knowledge to help one another and themselves. They are run by members, not by professionals (although professionals sometimes are involved). Because members face similar challenges, they feel an instant sense of community. These groups are volunteer, nonprofit organizations, with no fees (although sometimes there are small dues).