MassSupport offers online support groups for social isolation, other pandemic-related problems

  • The MassSupport Network’s team participates in a virtual training session with Dr. Robert Macy. Screenshot

Staff Writer
Published: 2/3/2021 8:56:37 PM

Emotional support groups for issues related to social isolation and other issues that have caused or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic are being offered online for free by the state-run MassSupport Network through Feb. 18.

The programs are designed to teach coping strategies for common emotional challenges of the pandemic, said Jen Matoney, a MassSupport crisis counselor for the Western Massachusetts region.

Grief, loneliness, “brain fog” and anxiety about catching or spreading COVID-19 are major themes that appear in counselors’ work lately, Matoney said.

“Our intent with these groups is to bring people together who are experiencing similar circumstances,” she said. “It helps people to not feel so alone when they have a chance to meet in groups and connect with others.”

Individual groups focus on people feeling isolated, COVID-19 survivors, parents and guardians of children going to school remotely, and health care workers. Information discussed in the groups is confidential.

The programs and registration links for those programs, held via the videoconferencing platform Zoom, are publicized through MassSupport’s Facebook page. Registration is only for a single group session, and does not obligate you to meet with the group more than once.

All the programs are free. Registration closes at 5 p.m. the day before the program.

Individual counseling sessions are also available online through MassSupport.

These public programs were originally inspired by similar types of programs that MassSupport had coordinated for businesses, schools and religious organizations, Matoney said. The public programs are similar in their focus, but are open to the public, rather than only to members of a particular organization.

“We wanted to cast a wider net and see what kind of responses we get if we promote these types of groups to the public,” she said. “We have been pleased with the response.”

The current programming continues through Feb. 18. Matoney said future programs that may be scheduled will be announced through the Facebook page as well.

Reach Max Marcus at or 413-930-4231.

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