Support groups for people with heart disease

How to find heart disease support groups across Australia to help you manage a heart condition.

Facing a serious illness like heart disease can leave even those surrounded by friends and family feeling isolated. For many, the additional support that comes from talking with people who have gone through, or who are living with the same illness, can be invaluable.

How a support group can help

Many people with heart disease, and their families, find connecting with others going through similar experiences helps to reduce distress, improve coping skills and gain a sense of empowerment and control. It is also a great way to find the information you need, when you need it. 

It’s normal to feel anxious when joining a support group, even if you’re not meeting face-to-face. 

If you feel nervous, start by reading and listening to others’ stories until you feel comfortable enough to contribute ideas and share your personal experience.

Finding the right support group

There are many different types of support groups; sometimes it can take a bit of trial and error to find one that’s right for you. We’ve put together a list of some of the national support groups to help you find one near you.

Heart Support Australia

Purpose: Offering support for people affected by heart conditions, and families affected by heart disease, through peer support facilitation and information. 
Services: Free advisory counsellor service, family support, monthly group meetings, home and hospital visits.

Hearts of Hope Australia

Purpose: Providing support for families of children with complex congenital heart conditions, parents who have lost children to congenital heart defects, and healthcare or social workers.
Services: Non-medical support group with free six-month introductory membership for families with or expecting a child with a heart condition.

The Heart Foundation

Purpose: Federated charity raising funds for research and prevention programs, building awareness around heart disease prevention, improving care and supporting local governments to create healthier communities.
Services: Free walking groups to support heart health, information and resources available on living well with heart disease.

HeartKids

Purpose: To improve the lives and futures of those affected by childhood heart disease, including families of patients. 
Services: National support groups for children and young adults suffering from heart disease and their families, annual camp for teenage and young-adult HeartKids, family getaway weekends, phone contact with families and older HeartKids in need. Linking services for members wishing to connect with families who have a child with the same set of heart abnormalities.
Website: Visit: heartkidsnsw.org.au and then select your state in the top right corner (if not NSW).

Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes (SADS) Foundation Australia

Purpose: Australian division of the worldwide SADS Foundation, aiming to save the lives and support the families of children and young adults who are genetically predisposed to sudden death due to heart rhythm abnormalities. 
Services: Patient and family-support program providing access to information, resources, fundraising events, outreach plan, research and national contact persons who can help arrange a support group in your area. 

Australian Genetic Heart Disease Registry

Purpose: Aims to enrol every family in Australia with genetic heart disease to help save lives now and in future generations.
Services: Registry, information and events for patients and families.

Finding a group or organisation to get involved with can be a great source of support, relief and information. Any of the above organisations or your doctor may also be able to recommend additional local support groups, online groups, forums and chat rooms to help offer an additional level of day-to-day support.
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