People with Crohn’s disease may find that joining a Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) support group can connect them to a community of other people sharing similar experiences and challenges.
Support groups can offer emotional support, provide information and a greater understanding of the condition, and offer a safe space to ask questions and talk freely. Support groups may also provide fundraising, volunteering opportunities, and social events.
This article looks at a range of support groups that people can join online or in person. They are suitable for both people with Crohn’s disease and their family members or caregivers.
There are several groups designed to provide support for adults living with Crohn’s disease. The following are some of those groups.
Connecting to Cure: Crohn’s & Colitis
Connecting to Cure is a charity that supports people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and raises funds for research.
Connecting to Cure has an online support group for people with IBD. The support group helps people learn about how others with IBD are coping.
This support group runs monthly. It is open to anyone aged 17 years or over with IBD.
People can find out more on the Connecting to Cure: Crohn’s & Colitis website.
Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation offers support groups throughout the United States. The support groups provide a chance for people with IBD to:
- share their stories
- gain emotional support
- get answers to any questions they may have
- connect with a community that has similar experiences and challenges
The support groups often also offer social gatherings and events, such as picnics, volunteer days, and outings.
People can find a local, in-person, or online support group through the search tool on the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation website.
Hoag IBD Virtual Support Group
Hoag is a nonprofit healthcare professional network in Orange County, CA. It offers a virtual support group for people with IBD.
The group provides mutual support for those with IBD as well as information and discussion on issues that people may be facing. The group is also open to family members of those with IBD.
Licensed clinical therapists and nurses facilitate the group, which runs monthly.
People can find out more and register here. After registering, people will be able to join the support group via Zoom.
Young adults and children with Crohn’s disease can join one of several support groups. The following are some of those groups.
UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center
UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center runs two support groups for children with IBD, which also welcome parents and siblings. The support groups offer:
- moral support
- healthy cooking classes
- discussions about transitioning to college
Healthcare professionals from the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology lead the groups, which run monthly.
People can find more information and contact details on the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center website.
IBD Support Foundation
The IBD Support Foundation (IBDSF) aims to prevent anyone with IBD from feeling alone because of their condition and offers a monthly support group for children with IBD.
IBDSF staff and trained volunteers, all of whom are living with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis themselves, run the support group.
Discussions may range from school and hobbies to any fears or challenges that children are facing about their condition or treatment. The group aims to improve understanding and acceptance of the impact of IBD.
IBDSF also runs Campus Connection, which offers support groups for young adults in college to develop coping skills. IBDSF also offers a monthly support group for parents of children with IBD and adults with IBD.
People can find more information and contact details on the IBDSF website.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) offers a virtual support group for teenagers with IBD, offering support from social workers as well as medical doctors.
People can find more details on the CHOP website.
The following groups provide specialized support for people with Crohn’s disease who belong to specific cultural groups.
Color of Crohn’s and Chronic Illness
Color of Crohn’s and Chronic Illness (COCCI) aims to improve quality of life for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color living with IBD or other digestive disorders.
COCCI offers Together IBD, which is an online support group for People of Color with IBD or irritable bowel syndrome. COCCI also offers workshops and events as well as the chance to become a COCCI ambassador.
People can find more information by visiting the COCCI website.
IBDesis is a platform and support network for South Asian people living with IBD. People with Crohn’s disease and their family members are welcome to join a private Facebook support group that offers further education around IBD.
People can find out more on the IBDesis website.
The following groups can provide support to adults or children belonging to LGBTQIA+ communities who are living with Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation offers the two following support groups:
- Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Support Group for Lesbian & Bisexual Women
- Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Support Group for Gay & Bisexual Men
The groups run virtually on Facebook, and people can find the link to the groups here.
Girls with Guts
Girls with Guts is an advocacy group offering support for women and girls with IBD. Girls with Guts welcomes people from LGBTQIA+ communities and provides a safe space for everyone.
Girls with Guts has a Facebook forum for people to connect with others who have IBD and those in their local area. It also offers fundraising and volunteer opportunities and runs two annual retreats.
Girls with Guts also has Community Connection, which is a committee that focuses on empowering new voices and creating awareness around the disparities and additional challenges that women and girls of diverse backgrounds with IBD face. These may relate to race, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation.
The following support groups may be useful to the friends or family of those living with Crohn’s disease.
Connecting to Cure: Crohn’s & Colitis
Connecting to Cure runs an online caregivers’ support group for friends and family members of those with IBD. Parents, spouses, partners, and family members are all welcome.
The group runs monthly. A gastroenterologist at Cedars-Sinai facilitates the group.
People can find out more through the Connecting to Cure: Crohn’s & Colitis website.
Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Family Support Group
The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation offers a virtual support group for parents, guardians, and family members supporting a young person with IBD. The group runs every month on Zoom.
People can find out more on the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation website.
People living with Crohn’s disease — as well as family members and caregivers of people with Crohn’s disease — may find that a support group can provide emotional support, practical advice, further education and resources, and the ability to connect with a community of others sharing similar experiences.