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arrow_red.gif    Purpose of a support group?    |    Locations & Meeting Dates    |    Questions & Answers    |    Feedback

 Purpose of an anxiety support group?

icon-group.jpgA support group allows people to express their feelings and provides a forum for discussion in a safe and confidential environment, amongst peers. Groups are guided by facilitators who assist in directing discussions and can provide insight and understanding in regard to issues raised.

  • An ADAVIC group IS a place for community discussion, support and sharing of ideas.
  • An ADAVIC group IS NOT a place for therapy or crisis intervention.

arrow_red.gif Guidelines and Code of Conduct for attendees (please download)

What Happens at a Support Group?

- By Eva Tanceva - Support Services Co-ordinator

A support group meeting is a safe forum for discussion to assist people on their path of recovery. As a facilitator of support group meetings I have seen many people come and go. Many have benefited immensely by attending support group meetings and others have mis-perceptions about support group meetings.

A support group meeting is designed for people who suffer from an anxiety disorder and for the carers. They are discussion groups, by no means just a social gathering or a therapeutic group. Many people who suffer from an anxiety disorder feel that they are alone and no one understands their dread and fear. At a support group meeting they realise they are not alone and many share a common goal, to learn strategies on how to overcome this dread and fear. Within a support group we do not prescribe or diagnose, we suggest. It's a forum where people can get information about anxiety disorders, different therapies, workshops, professionals who specialise in anxiety disorders, but most of all a safe and confidential discussion group where people can share their stories and experiences. Support group meetings are also designed for the carers, to give the them a better understanding of what their loved one is going through.

The facilitators are not professionals; most of them are either psychology students or people who have recovered from an anxiety disorder. I fall into the latter category. Being a facilitator is one of the most rewarding things in my life. It gives me an opportunity to share my experience and to encourage others that they can overcome this dread and fear. After all I did. However it saddens me when I see people becoming stagnant and starting to view the support group meetings as their salvation, social gathering, therapy session or a place where they become opinionated about how a support group should be.

Within a support group meeting you will discover that everyone is at a different level of their recovery. Also many have inspiring stories to tell about their journey and their trials and tribulations and this is what a support group is about: for people to encourage and support each other and for the facilitators to guide the discussions and provide information. As I said earlier, more people have benefited from a support group meeting because they utilised what a support group has to offer. It makes me proud to be a facilitator when I see many of them return just to share how well they are managing their anxiety, how insightful the book we suggested was or how helpful the professional we recommended was.

Each of you will have a different story to tell and most of you will want some reassurance and this is why we are here, to hear your story and to encourage you.

Another perspective

The Insider (a facilitator's experience of a support group)

 Questions & Answers

Do I have to make a booking to attend the support group?


  • For the online groups, we want to ensure a good experience for all participants so we have a limit of 11 spots available at each session. This helps to keep the group size manageable without being overwhelming for everyone.  Bookings are required in advance.
  • For the face-to-face groups, due to COVID-safe procedures you will need to book in advance. At the venue both facilitators and attendees will need to sign in using the QR code which will be on the wall in the room.  However, there is no ongoing commitment required - you are welcome to visit once, occasionally, or every session - what ever suits you!

NOTE: No groups run on Public Holidays.

Is there a start date or intake period?

No. ADAVIC groups run all year round. Each meeting is independent from the previous one, so you can start (and stop) attending whenever you are ready.

How much does it cost to attend a group?

There is a small fee to help cover room hire or hosting costs. The cost is:

Online Groups
  • $3.00 casual per session

Face-to-face Groups

 Is everything I say confidential?

Yes (with a but)! Confidentiality is an issue we take very seriously at ADAVIC. We realise there are many people who may only feel safe about discussing these sensitive and very personal issues if they are in a confidential environment. With this in mind, we take the stance that things that get discussed in group stay in group! However, if ADAVIC Facilitators have concerns for your welfare or the welfare of other people, we may need to share some information with health professionals or emergency services personnel.

Do I have to talk at the meeting?

No. There is no obligation to take part in the discussion. You are very welcome to just sit and listen. We find that people are more comfortable when they are not forced to talk - and are more willing to talk when the decision is up to them.

What types of things get discussed at a support group?

There are no set topics at an ADAVIC Support Group. The groups are informal in structure, but in a typical meeting, discussion may focus on a wide-range of topics such as:

  • how these experiences can affect one's life
  • comparing strategies and coping skills
  • comparing symptoms
  • opinions on medication
  • requesting help with frustrations and "roadblocks" on the path of recovery
  • the stigma of mental health issues

arrow_red.gif Rules & Aims of ADAVIC Support Groups (please download) 

Is it a therapy group?

No. The groups aim to provide a comfortable place to talk about and listen to the issues and problems that people are facing. Whilst the groups may be therapeutically beneficial, the purpose is not to provide counselling support. We do try to focus on finding positives in situations and helping one another to manage and overcome problems. However, there is no pressure to 'change', and no one will force particular techniques or treatments upon you.

Who runs the support group?

Groups are run by ADAVIC volunteers who have undertaken facilitator training. Many have had their own personal experiences with anxiety, depression and related disorders. Others are in-training psychologists or counsellors.

Can I bring my partner, carer, friend?

Yes! You are most welcome to bring support along with you. Often it is beneficial for partners, carers and friends to come and listen to the experiences of others, as it can help to gain insight and understanding of the issues.

Support persons attend for free.

Who attends the Support Groups?

The groups are adult-oriented. All ages from 18 years and up - both male and female - are welcomed. The groups cater to both sufferers and carers.

Please note: the groups are not intended for individuals who need intensive psychological or psychiatric support!

The groups are focused towards supporting people that suffer from:

Generalised Anxiety:
This condition is characterized by chronic anxiety. You are dealing with a large number of worries, and find it difficult to exercise much control over these worries.

Panic Attacks:
A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that can occur 'out of the blue' or in response to being in certain situations.

Where you are afraid of being in a situation that may cause a panic attack.

Social Phobia:
Where you constantly fear situations in which you feel you are exposed to the scrutiny of others.

Many people may become depressed as a secondary reaction to their anxiety. This is an understandable response to what can seem like an overwhelming situation.

The groups are also relevant to :

Carers, Family and Relatives:
For some people it can be stressful living with or caring for a person suffering from Anxiety-related disorders. Support groups can offer insight and perspective, new coping strategies, and may allow carers to vent their frustrations to others who understand the issues and can offer advice.

 Locations & Meeting Dates

Online groups (via Zoom)
  • Anxiety & Depression Group (Monday and Wednesday evenings)
  • Agoraphobia Group (Tuesday evenings)

Face-to-face groups

Online Support Groups

Online Support Group Meetings offer support, information and resources to those in need via Zoom.

When are meetings held?

Anxiety & Depression Online Groups
  • Monday Group meets weekly at 7pm-8.30pm

No meetings are held on Victorian Public Holidays
arrow_red.gif Meeting dates & bookings
Agoraphobia Online Group
  • Tuesday meetings held weekly at 7pm-8.30pm

No meetings are held on Victorian Public Holidays
arrow_red.gif Meeting dates & bookings

How do I register?

If you are interested in attending a session for the first time, please read the 'Online Support Group Guide and Registration Form' and complete the disclaimer and registration form (found on the last two pages).  Please email the completed form to If you decide to continue your attendance, you won't need to complete the form again.

Existing support group members are not required to complete the online registration form.

Is there a cost to attend online?
The cost for online support group attendance is $3. Face to face group fee is $6 and seats are limited for each support group, so we recommend making payment earlier in the week to secure your place.

Payments are made online prior to meeting commencement time (or until sold out).  Once payment is received, you will receive an email with instructions on how to attend the meeting through Zoom.

I'm using Zoom for the first time, what help is available?
To view our guide on how to attend an online support group over Zoom, please click here.

Face-to-Face Support Groups

 Coburg Anxiety Support Group

Coburg Anxiety Support Group 

When:  See below for dates - subject to change due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Support Group meetings are held every second Monday evening from 7.30pm - 9.00pm except for public holidays. 

Note:  Due to COVID-19 venue capacity restrictions, you cannot just turn up to a support group anymore - you will need to book in advance from our Eventbrite page

$6.00 per session
Maximum 12 attendees per group session

When groups are cancelled (e.g. due to COVID-19 restrictions) you might like to consider our Online Support Group options.

East Coburg Neighbourhood House (NECCHi)
32 Nicholson Street
Coburg VIC

How to get there:

  • Melways 30 / A4
  • Car parking available on Glengyle St.

Public Transport:
  • Tram 1 East Coburg - South Melbourne (Stop no. 130 - The Avenue / Nicholson St)
  • Tram 8 Moreland - Toorak (Stop no. 129 - Moreland Rd / Nicholson Street)
  • Bus 510 Essendon - Ivanhoe (Stop at Moreland Rd / Holmes St)


 Camberwell Anxiety Support Group

Camberwell Anxiety Support Group

The walk-in Camberwell Support Group is currently not running. Please see information above for Online Support Group options. 

When:  No meetings have been scheduled at present

The Market Space
Level 1,
519-525 Riversdale Road,
Camberwell VIC 3124

How to get there:


  • Parking is available in the street and also in the Target carpark across the road from the venue

Public Transport

  • Trams 70, 72, 75 Camberwell Junction
  • Train to Camberwell Station

 Carrum Downs Anxiety Support Group

Carrum Downs (Lyrebird) Anxiety Support Group

The walk-in group is currently not running. Please see information above for Online Support Group options. 

When:  No meetings have been scheduled at present

Lyrebird Community Centre
203 Lyrebird Drive,
Carrum Downs, VIC 3201

Carrum Downs Pic 1.jpg



Let us know about your experiences with our Support Groups.

  • Did you find the group beneficial?
  • Were there things you didn't like?
  • What would you change?
  • Any complaints?

Ways you can provide feedback:

>  Complete an anonymous Online Survey arrow_red.gif click here

Feedback Forms are available at each Support Group venue (or arrow_red.gif download this form and mail to ADAVICpdf_icon.gif  )

>  Speak to a Facilitator
after the meeting to discuss your feedback directly

Provide your feedback to the arrow_red.gif ADAVIC office

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. We welcome your contributions
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or help with fundraising, please
contact the ADAVIC office.

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