All of us need to have that sense of belongingness, most especially those individuals with disabilities – providing them with a support group that will serve as their source of empowerment to better help them cope with their situation. This kind of support group should offer these individuals with a disability, their families and their carers that sense of security – an atmosphere that is safe, fosters positivity, and deliver a forum which will give them a fair chance to interact normally.
Disability Community Support Groups in Sydney
“Social support group has been defined as the presence of others, or the resources provided by them, prior to, during and following a stressful event.” Ogden (2004)
These so-called support groups’ primary purpose is the provision of empathy and emotional support for its members. Support groups can also be less formal and less goal-directed as compared to that of group therapy.
Generally, social support group assumes four elements:
(1) interactions leading to an increase in self-esteem (through contact with others)
(2) support through the provision of information
(3) social companionship
(4) instrumental support (actual physical help)
The above-listed criteria indicate a meaning close to that of psychological support and can be applied for use to individuals with a disability, their families, caregivers/carers. This is most relevant to people with disabilities who have gone through some form of trauma, abuse or violence. Support groups meet for the purpose of giving emotional support and information to persons with common problems. They are often facilitated by professionals and linked to a social agency or a larger, formal organisation.
BACKGROUND ON DISABILITY IN SYDNEY
As indicated by the New South Wales (NSW) disability statistical report, there are about 1.3 million people with disability, of which 420,000 have a profound disability that affects their ability to communicate, move around or limitation to look after and care for themselves.
In Sydney, there are about 234,000 (18%) individuals with a disability. The city government pursues to enact the best practice in relation to access and inclusion issues to individuals with disability through increase government supported advocacies that seek to promote community support groups. These support groups can serve as an avenue for resources relevant to address the needs of persons with disabilities; one example is directories of carers or caregivers – carers who are identified to play a vital role in the wider community. A carer is a person of any age who provides any informal assistance, such as supervision of persons or children with a disability or long-term health conditions, or persons who are elderly (aged 65 years and above).
Through the increased presence of disability support in Sydney communities, there’s now a better chance for individuals with disabilities to have more enjoyable life, and at the same time, have better chances to have an interaction with similar support groups. The goal is to reduce disparity by raising community mindfulness and providing opportunities to individuals with disabilities. This will lead to the fulfilment of the local government program for disability’s Inclusion (Disability) Action Plan of the City of Sydney. After all, these policies were created in order to have a system of strong community support group for individuals with disabilities, their respective families, and their caregivers or carers.