Finding Emotional Support for Your Chronic Respiratory Illness

Man holding woman's hand; finding support for chronic lung condition

Living with a chronic respiratory illness like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), bronchiectasis, or an overlapping of the two conditions can take a toll on your mental health. You may feel isolated from the hobbies you enjoy doing, as well as the people you love spending time with.

Though respiratory conditions have always presented certain lifestyle challenges, now—with the understanding that your pre-existing respiratory disease can make you more susceptible to COVID-19 complications[1]—you might feel even more stressed about your condition than usual. Having support from family, friends, or finding a support group that understands what you’re going through, can be an excellent resource.

Graphic of two hands clasped together.Finding Support for Your Respiratory Condition

You’re not alone. In fact, over 16 million Americans are living with COPD,[2] which is why leading organizations like the American Lung Association and the COPD Foundation offer online and in-person COPD support groups  to help you find guidance and camaraderie throughout your wellness journey.

To help you find the right COPD support that fits your routine, we’ve compiled the following list of resources that you can access either online or by phone:

COPD360social: The COPD Foundation offers individuals, whether you have COPD or you’re caring for someone living with a respiratory illness, a collaborative online community. Its virtual platform allows you to share your concerns, hear words of encouragement, ask questions, and leave comments with other active participants.

To become a member, you just need to register online. If you’re concerned about being tech savvy, don’t worry. The foundation makes it easy to navigate their online resources with quick tips and video tutorials, so you can feel comfortable and confident exploring their database.

Lung HelpLine: The American Lung Association’s 24/7, toll free, lung helpline is committed to providing COPD patients and their families with unlimited support and education. No matter the time of day, you can contact this helpline to ask questions, get tips on quitting smoking, and  find COPD support groups near you.

Operated by a team of registered nurses and respiratory therapists, this free resource allows you to seek support via phone or online chat and offers live language interpretation service for more than 250 languages.[3]

Better Breathers Club: This is another COPD support group created by the American Lung Association. As a member of the club, you’ll be connected to other people around the country who are just like you. You’ll also have access to virtual meetings, online support, and live webinars to learn more about your condition and the results of recent clinical trials.

To join, you’ll need to register here. The American Lung Association also provides support for you or a family member who may be smoking with COPD. The support group Freedom from Smoking offers an effective smoking cessation program that helps you choose your quit day and provides resources to help you manage stress and other symptoms associated with quitting smoking.

bronchiectasis resources, bronchiectasis treatmentsSmartVest.com/blog: As creators of the SmartVest Airway Clearance System, a high frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) therapy device on the market with published outcome studies on its effectiveness in reducing hospitalizations and stabilizing lung function,[4] our goal is to help people living with COPD and bronchiectasis find support and resources on their individual conditions. From industry news and clinical studies to COPD wellness tips and breathing techniques, our team works to provide the answers to questions you may be asking and the support you need to seek effective treatment.

We also offer helpful videos featuring renowned pulmonologist Dr. Frederic Seifer on how to talk to your doctor about getting airway clearance therapy and how to recognize the early signs of a comorbidity of COPD and bronchiectasis symptoms.

Graphic of home with heart in the middle.Finding Support for COPD at Home

In addition to these incredible online resources, finding COPD support at home from loved ones, friends, and neighbors is equally important. Though it’s still essential that we all practice social distancing to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, creating more opportunities for human interaction, whether it’s joining one of the online communities mentioned above, video chatting, or calling your circle of friends for a weekly recap, can help you feel less isolated and more connected.

For resources and information on COPD and managing symptoms, subscribe to our blog to stay connected. If you think you might be experiencing COPD and/or bronchiectasis, try our live chat to talk with our Patient Care Advocate or schedule a time that is convenient for you.


[1] Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “People Who Are At Higher Risk for Severe Illness.” Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/groups-at-higher-risk.html

[2] CDC. “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/copd/index.html

[3] The American Lung Association. “Lung Helpline and Tobacco Quitline.” Retrieved from https://www.lung.org/help-support/lung-helpline-and-tobacco-quitline

[4] Powner, Jordan, et al. Employment of an Algorithm of Care Including Chest Physiotherapy Results in Reduced Hospitalizations and Stability of Lung Function in Bronchiectasis. BMC Pulmonary Medicine, BioMed Central. 25 Apr. 2019.

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