Autoimmune Aware is a dynamic support group initiative focused on creating an inclusive space for the autoimmune disease and chronic illness community to thrive, with gatherings to share, learn, and connect.
Our pilot program, which started in San Diego, California, is now open to everyone – no matter where you are! We are also working on a support group guide, which will empower others to build their own local, in-person or virtual Autoimmune Aware groups.
Monthly, virtual meetings touch upon all aspects of life with chronic illness – symptom management, diagnosis, stress, social life and relationships, physical movement, nutrition – and include casual conversation and connection with others.
In addition to monthly meetings, we plan to include educational talks from practitioners and other experts in topics related to health and chronic illness, such as dietitians, acupuncturists, rheumatologists, functional medicine doctors, mental health professionals, health coaches, and yoga instructors.
For San Diego members, we may organize periodic social outings on weekends such as farmer’s markets, picnics, walks – anything that would be fun to do together as a group. It’s equally important to explore who we are outside the realm of health, since our lives can easily become consumed by it.
Our aim is to help each other live well and feel heard, while not letting disease define us. We encourage members to come as they are, with an open mind and the willingness to nurture a positive atmosphere.
This group is community-focused, sprouting from the belief that when we co-create, we thrive. Members are welcome to give suggestions and create leadership roles if desired. They may even chose to branch off and develop local groups in their own unique communities.
NOTE: Autoimmune Aware Support Group meetings are not mediated by a trained professional. The meetings are facilitated and attended by peers in the autoimmune and chronic illness community solely to provide comfort and encouragement. GAI strongly recommends that all participants seek and obtain medical advice, information, and treatment by physicians and other qualified health professionals. Information and suggestions offered by group members are not a substitute for medical or mental health treatment by a professional.