Support group helps employees coping with chronic illness

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Hopeful HealingPeople living with chronic illness — such as heart disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, obesity or arthritis  — must cope with changes to their lifestyle and life expectations, on top of the pain, fatigue and stress often associated with chronic conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of all adults — 117 million people — have at least one chronic health condition.

UAB’s Employee Assistance and Counseling Center provides a place where members of the campus community can share their experiences, offer support and know they are not alone. Hopeful Healing, its monthly support group, enables employees to feel less isolated, said Counselor Khoi Bishop.

In this space where they can express their feelings and thoughts about a shared experience, Bishop said, they are able to “form a bond with others whom they may not meet in their day-to-day setting” and “learn to trust and perhaps form a lasting connection to one another.”

That has been the case for group regular Michael Fitts, a UAB employee who agreed to speak on the record as a Hopeful Healing participant. “It has been my experience that everyone at some point in their life could benefit from some sort of outlet and a safe space where you can connect with others and not fear being vulnerable,” Fitts said. “That’s what my support group is to me.”

The group meets the last Tuesday of the month, and participation is confidential.
The next meeting will be 5:15-6:15 p.m. April 24.

The group meets the last Tuesday of the month, and participation is confidential. The next meeting is scheduled 5:15-6:15 p.m. April 24 in the EACC offices, 2112 11th Ave. South, Suite 330. Employees of UAB, UAB Medicine and Viva and members of their immediate household are invited to attend; no registration is required.

The discussion is led by group members, and Bishop and AWARE Coordinator Sherri Moultrie are there to facilitate.

Learn more about these and other available services at