My First Meeting
by Leanne Flavell
The following information will provide you a sneak insight into what to expect when you attend a support group meeting for the first time! I can still remember going to my 1st meeting and the feeling of being so scared as I had no idea what to expect, so I hope you find this helpful. Of course I can only give you the information about the group meeting I am directly involved with but for those who do not live within my area, watch this space! We are looking for people from all over the country to give us their account of their first meeting for the site.
When you arrive you will be welcomed by a friendly member of the Alopecia Awareness team, which will help you feel more at ease. We are all there for the same reason so please do not be afraid, if it helps feel free to bring a friend or family member along with you for support. All the meetings are set on an informal basis, meaning no-body will be asking you to stand and give a massive talk about your experiences of alopecia, unless you would like to of course! I have to say I have done in the past. (Wendy say's I like the sound of my own voice!)
The set up: The room will be warm, clean and more than accommodating and we like to think comfortable! Light refreshments are readily available for a small donation to the group, this will contribute to the cost of the room. This is most welcomed by people who have come straight from work and are dying for a brew or a cup of coffee! we think of everything! if you are lucky there may even be biscuits! Occasionally we have guest speakers such as trichologists, dermatologist etc but not every meeting. The meetings are mainly to allow you plenty of opportunity to chat with other people who are in the same situation and if you do decide to take a friend or family member, it gives them the chance to learn more about alopecia and what they can do to support you. We generally then hold a raffle or game of bingo! This is a great ice breaker, we ask each person to bring in something small to contribute to the raffle prizes, again the idea of this is to have a little fun and raise a little cash towards the cost of the support groups.
Starting your own group
If you are interested in starting a support group in your area, please see our 'Support Group' section on how to go about it.