Groups for social anxiety

Social Anxiety groups | Meetup

Largest Social Anxiety groups

  • 1

    Harriet D

    Organized by Harriet D

  • 2

    The Young and Socially Anxious

    9,091 Members | Brisbane, Australia


    Organized by Krystle


    Organized by Krystle

  • 3

    London Introverts Social Club

    7,501 Introverts | London, United Kingdom

    Rob C

    Organized by Rob C

    Rob C

    Organized by Rob C

  • 4

    Out of Your Shell: Activities for the Shy & Socially Anxious

    6,720 Members | Toronto, Canada

    Karina Shishkina

    Organized by Karina Shishkina

    Karina Shishkina

    Organized by Karina Shishkina

  • 5

    The London Depression & Associated Problems Meetup (LDAP)

    6,621 People | London, United Kingdom


    Organized by Martin


    Organized by Martin

  • 6

    Toronto Shyness and Social Anxiety Support Group

    5,853 People Who Suffer From Shyness | Toronto, Canada


    Organized by Rama


    Organized by Rama

  • 7

    Omaha Chill

    5,791 Members | Omaha, USA

    Brian Ethridge

    Organized by Brian Ethridge

    Brian Ethridge

    Organized by Brian Ethridge

  • 8

    Melbourne Asian Going Out Group

    5,721 Awesome Asians | Melbourne, Australia


    Organized by Anqi


    Organized by Anqi

  • 9

    Get Out Your Comfort Zone!

    5,474 Comfort Zone Breakers | London, United Kingdom

    Chris Murphy

    Organized by Chris Murphy

    Chris Murphy

    Organized by Chris Murphy

  • 10

    Perth SA/Shyness Social Group

    5,441 Members | Perth, Australia


    Organized by chaitea


    Organized by chaitea

Newest Social Anxiety groups

  • RWC Self Improvement Club

    9 Members

    Started Dec 21 in Redwood City, USA

  • Stenhousemuir Meetup Group

    9 Members

    Started Dec 19 in Stenhousemuir, United Kingdom

  • Spiritual Cancer

    5 Members

    Started Dec 13 in Melbourne, Australia

  • Central Coast Meetup for Introverts or Have Social Anxiety

    8 Members

    Started Dec 12 in Central Coast, Australia

  • Social Anxiety and Your Ability to Communicate

    45 Members

    Started Dec 11 in Los Angeles, USA

  • Learning to live agin meetup group

    2 Members

    Started Dec 10 in Jackson, USA

The 6 Best Online Anxiety Support Groups in 2022

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Online anxiety support groups can help you connect with others and share your experiences in a supportive, judgment-free zone.

Living with anxiety can be an isolating experience, and you may feel alone at times, especially if people around you can’t relate to what you’re going through.

Online anxiety support groups provide a safe space in which you can:

  • connect with others with anxiety
  • share your feelings
  • find support and strength from the community

Anxiety is a common mental health condition. In fact, 31% of adults in the United States will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. If you have anxiety, you don’t have to go through it alone. Sometimes, having support from others who have similar experiences is just what you need.

We’ve compiled a list of our favorite online anxiety support groups, which you can access from the comfort of your home.

Something to keep in mind

While anxiety support groups can be a great resource, they can’t replace treatment if a medical professional has recommended therapy or prescribed medication for your anxiety disorder.

Support groups are also unsuitable to help you when you are in crisis.

If you’re considering self-harm or suicide, help is available

If you’re having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you can access free support right away with these resources:

  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call the Lifeline at 800-273-8255, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • The Crisis Text Line. Text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
  • The Trevor Project. LGBTQIA+ and under 25 years old? Call 866-488-7386, text “START” to 678678, or chat online 24-7.
  • Veterans Crisis Line. Call 800-273-8255, text 838255, or chat online 24-7.
  • Deaf Crisis Line. Call 321-800-DEAF (3323), text “HAND” at 839863, or visit their website.
  • Befrienders Worldwide. This international crisis helpline network can help you find a local helpline.

If you want to jump directly to the section for each service, you can click the links below.

  • Best overall: Support Groups Central
  • Best app: 7 Cups
  • Best for people with anxiety and substance use disorder: SMART Recovery
  • Best for immediate support: Inspire by Mental Health of America
  • Best peer-to-peer support group: TheTribe
  • Best online discussion forum: Anxiety and Depression Association of America

To select the best online anxiety support groups, we spent time considering important aspects of each platform, including:

  • anonymity and privacy offered to participants
  • accuracy of information provided on the site
  • established and secure website or app
  • guidelines for participation
  • moderation (particularly for discussion forums)
  • user reviews
  • qualifications of the staff

As you search through mental health sites, you want a trustworthy place you can go where you know you’ll get unbiased, factual information. Gaining and maintaining your trust is a primary goal of our editorial team.

All of our content is editorially independent, and we ensure that business partners and sponsors never influence our content. We link only to products and services we believe fill a direct need or provide value to our readers.

Finally, all of our health content is reviewed by our medical affairs team to ensure that it’s medically accurate and aligned with current standards of care.

Best overall

Support Groups Central

  • Price: most groups are free, but some charge a small fee to participate
  • Platform: website

Support Groups Central offers support groups for various mental health conditions, including anxiety. In addition to groups categorized by conditions, there are groups for:

  • People of Color
  • the LGBTQIA+ community
  • veterans

People from around the world use the groups to:

  • share their experiences
  • encourage one another
  • offer support

In addition to asking questions on the discussion forums, members can join meetings via video and audio. If you prefer anonymity, you can turn off your video and log in with a username.

Why we chose it as best overall

Support Groups Central is a large platform, offering a wide range of support groups, covering a span of conditions, including anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and narcolepsy. Getting started is free and meetings are directed by trained instructors.

What we like
  • Meetings are led by trained instructors, many of whom are licensed mental health professionals.
  • You can sign up for email alerts about future meetings by topics of interest.
  • According to Support Groups Central’s website, 95% of participants would recommend the service to others.
What to look out for
  • Some groups charge a fee or request donations to participate.
  • As with most discussion forums, it’s advisable to be cautious with tips offered by group members and to discuss them with your treatment team, as the information may not be evidence-based or medically recommended.

Get started with Support Groups Central

Best app

7 Cups

  • Price: free access to connect with listeners in chat rooms and forums; $150 a month for unlimited chat sessions with a licensed mental health professional
  • Platform: app, website

7 Cups is an online emotional support service that allows users to connect with friendly, caring support any time, day or night.

The app has more than 300,000 trained volunteers called “listeners” who provide free emotional support when you need it. Connect one-on-one with a listener in a private chat room, find support and friendship in the forums, or join a scheduled support group session.

7 Cups offers online meetings each week, including sharing circles and support sessions. They also have a community specifically for anxiety support.

Why we chose it as best app

7 Cups is a unique service in that you can connect with a trained listener 24/7 to receive emotional support.

What we like
  • You can connect with a caring listener within minutes of logging on, any time day or night.
  • Self-help guides provide detailed information on many mental health topics and conditions to give users information and advice on coping strategies.
  • Professional moderators maintain a safe, supportive community.
  • Web- and app-based, so you can access the service from your tablet, computer, or smartphone.
What to look out for
  • Accessing chats with a licensed mental health professional costs $150 a month, and is only available to people older than 18 years.
  • There is a high turnover of listeners, which means you may need to speak with a new person each time you log in.
  • The listeners are trained volunteers, not mental health professionals.
  • Tips offered in the forums may not be evidence-based or medically recommended, so it’s best to use caution and discuss anything you may want to try with your treatment team.

Get started with 7 Cups

Best for people with anxiety and substance use disorder

SMART Recovery

  • Price: free
  • Platform: Website

SMART Recovery offers support for those living with substance use disorder (SUD) and other dual diagnoses, including anxiety.

Mutual-support groups with members around the world help participants resolve problems related to addiction.

SMART Recovery takes a science-based approach that emphasizes self-empowerment and changing behaviors.

The site provides free access to more than 40 online meetings a week, and online discussion forums are open around the clock.

Why we chose it as best for anxiety and SUD

SMART Recovery’s groups and online meetings are free and open to anyone looking for research-based support for addiction recovery.

What we like
  • The search function helps you find local in-person groups, local virtual groups, and virtual groups with others around the world.
  • SMART Recovery uses evidence, science-based approaches to recovery.
What to look out for
  • The service doesn’t require group leaders to be sober.
  • Members are encouraged to focus on the present and future, rather than share stories from the past.

Get started with SMART Recovery

Best for immediate support

Inspire by Mental Health America

  • Price: free
  • Platform: website

Mental Health America (MHA) is a community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing mental health conditions and promoting wellness.

The site offers early identification and intervention, as well as a list of services and support for those who need it.

MHA’s online support group, Inspire, is a free resource that allows members to share experiences, ask questions, and get peer-to-peer support from others who understand what it’s like to live with anxiety.

Why we chose it as best for immediate support

MHA’s Inspire is a free platform where members with anxiety can take free mental health screening tests and connect with one another for 24/7 support.

What we like
  • MHA offers free mental health screening tests, including a test for anxiety.
  • Inspire is the largest provider of health-specific communities.
  • Groups are moderated by MHA staff.
What to look out for
  • The groups are led by peers, not trained mental health professionals.

Get started with Inspire by MHA

Best peer-to-peer support group


  • Price: free
  • Platform: website

TheTribe wellness community is a peer-to-peer support group for those living with mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders.

With over 130,000 members, TheTribe users share stories and meet others with similar experiences in a supportive online space.

In addition to online groups, TheTribe encourages members to complete fun activities and offers resources to find online therapy.

Why we chose it as best peer-to-peer support group

The tribe offers a large platform in which people living with a variety of anxiety disorders can connect with one another in a safe space.

What we like
  • TheTribe has groups for various communities, including anxiety, the LGBTQIA+ community, and teens.
  • Inspirational wellness tools include wellness tracker, member blogs, mood mapping, and sending kudos to other members.
What to look out for
  • There’s a lack of facilitators.
  • TheTribe doesn’t offer discussion boards.

Get started with TheTribe

Best online discussion forum

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

  • Price: free
  • Platform: website

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to education and research around mental health conditions.

The site offers a comprehensive list of community and online support groups for anxiety disorders and other mental health conditions.

AADA’s online chat-based forums and peer-to-peer support groups allow members to:

  • connect with others who are experiencing anxiety
  • contribute to conversations
  • ask questions
  • share their journey
Why we chose it as best online discussion forum

The ADAA forum is a safe space where both English- and Spanish-speaking individuals with anxiety can connect with and support one another.

What we like
  • The site hosts active discussion forums with engaged members from around the world.
  • Educational resources include webinars, podcasts, videos, books, and brochures on anxiety disorders.
  • ADAA has support groups for English- as well as Spanish-speaking folks.
What to look out for
  • Groups aren’t led by trained professionals, though they are moderated by community members.
  • It’s best to use caution with suggestions made by forum members and to discuss whether suggested practices are safe for you with your treatment team.

Get started with ADAA

Best forFeaturesPlatformsPrice
Support Groups CentralOverall• diverse groups available
• specialized groups for LGBTQIA+ community, veterans,
People of Color
website• most free
• some charge small fee
7 CupsApp• open 24/7
• trained listeners
• option to chat with mental health pro (for a fee)
• free for forum
• $150 a month to chat with mental health pro
SMART RecoveryAnxiety and SUD• support for SUD and anxiety
• free meetings
• science-based approach
Inspire by MHAImmediate support• peer support
• mental health screening tests
TheTribePeer-to-peer support• specialized groups for LGBTQIA+,
teens, etc.
• wellness tools
Anxiety and Depression Association of AmericaOnline discussion forum• English & Spanish
• educational resources

An anxiety support group is a place where people living with anxiety can:

  • connect
  • share experiences and tips
  • support one another

Some support groups are led by trained professionals while others simply offer peer support without a specific agenda.

If you didn’t find what you were looking for in this list, here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for an anxiety support group that suits your needs:

  • Do you want to attend an online or in-person group?
  • Do you want a group that’s primarily peer support or one led by a trained professional?
  • Do you prefer talking to one person at a time or posting on a forum?
  • Do you want a free group or are you OK with paying a fee?
  • Are you looking for anxiety support within a specific community, such as veterans, People of Color, LGBTQIA+ folks, or new moms?
  • Do you prefer a structured format that follows a curriculum or a more free-flowing format?

For best results, it’s important to attend or make use of the group regularly. A small 2020 study found that online and offline peer support groups are central to recovery from mental health conditions.

What is the purpose of a support group for anxiety?

For many people, living with anxiety is a lonely experience. Online support groups bring people together to share thoughts and feelings, learn coping strategies, and hear stories of others that can be validating to your own experience.

Online anxiety support groups often fill a gap between medical treatment for anxiety and the need for emotional support, helping members feel less alone.

Whether you have access to other mental health support or not, online anxiety support groups offer fellowship, understanding, and a safe space to share and connect with others — all from the comfort of your own home.

How do online support groups differ from in-person support groups?

Online support groups are becoming increasingly popular, as a convenient, affordable, and accessible alternative to in-person groups. These groups offer accessibility, flexibility, and privacy. People with social anxiety may find online groups less intimidating to participate in.

In-person anxiety support groups give members the chance to engage in face-to-face interactions, which may make relationship building and fostering connections a little easier for some.

How are anxiety support groups structured?

Anxiety support groups can be structured in a variety of ways. Some groups follow a curriculum while others allow the members to choose the topics, just go with the flow, or a combination of both.

Support groups can also have different types of facilitators.

Professional-led groups are those guided by a licensed mental health professional. Other groups are led by peer facilitators — people who live with an anxiety disorder but who’ve made significant progress in managing their symptoms. These peer facilitators often receive training before leading a support group.

Self-help groups tend to be those organized and managed by members (peers) with no professionals guiding the conversations.

Some support groups are ongoing, while others have a specific number of sessions.

And, of course, some are online while others are face-to-face.

You may need to try both online and in-person support groups to determine which is the best fit for you. There may be times you prefer the ease of online groups and others where you crave in-person interactions. So it’s also OK to switch between these formats or make use of both at the same time.

Online support groups won’t treat anxiety on their own, but having access to peer support can be very helpful in managing anxiety in your daily life.

You may be nervous about sharing personal issues with people you’ve just met when you first joined a group. Try to listen and warm up to others in the group. Over time, you may feel more comfortable sharing your own experiences.

It’s important to remember that a support group isn’t a substitute for professional mental health care. If you need help coping with your anxiety beyond what a support group can provide, talking with a doctor or therapist might be best.

Social anxiety and suicidal tendencies among students

It is known that at student age, due to the high level of workload and stress, there is a high risk of manifestation of mental pathology [2, 3, 5, 7] and the development of suicidal tendencies [3, 6, 7]. According to a number of researchers [1, 3, 4, 7, 10-12], the main problem of maladaptation of students in the form of suicidal thinking and behavior is dysfunctional interpersonal relationships that can cause social anxiety. nine0003

Social anxiety is a state of emotional discomfort, fear, apprehension and anxiety in relation to the social situation and evaluation by other people [8, 13, 14, 16]. A person with high social anxiety in a situation of interaction with people thinks that he will look funny or stupid, that those around him will condemn or humiliate him. However, every person throughout his life constantly finds himself in situations of need for contact with other people. Study, work, entertainment and even travel by public transport are closely related to communication. Naturally, a person in whom communication situations cause a strong sense of anxiety and discomfort finds it difficult to cope with everyday affairs. nine0003

Social anxiety can have a serious negative impact on the process of social and emotional adaptation and the quality of life of students. Due to increased anxiety, the student is often unable to act effectively in the presence of other people and, as a rule, without any reason, comes to the conclusion that he is being judged. By avoiding the situation, contact with people, such a student deprives himself of the opportunity to develop his social skills and make sure that he is able to successfully interact. nine0003

An extreme manifestation of social anxiety is social phobia. If social anxiety brings discomfort to a person’s life, makes certain situations painful and unpleasant for him, then social phobia leads to more serious maladaptation, up to the refusal of activities associated with frightening situations. The main way out for people suffering from social phobia is often to avoid any situations that are associated with the likelihood of a negative assessment. They avoid performances, meetings with the opposite sex, parties, going out to people, which leads to partial or complete social isolation. This greatly limits their ability to experience the joys of life and leads to suffering from loneliness. What makes this situation even more difficult to bear is the constant comparison of yourself with more successful and confident people with negative conclusions about your own person. Currently, social phobia has the status of an independent mental disorder within the framework of the ICD-10, criteria for clinical diagnosis, standards for drug and psychotherapeutic treatment have been developed. According to some researchers [11], this disorder is associated with a high risk of suicide and substance abuse. Typical symptoms of social phobia are acute anxiety, intense tension, flushing of the face, sensation of a lump in the throat, palpitations, dry mouth, nausea, trembling and weakness in the legs, inability to concentrate in fear-provoking situations. nine0003

The purpose of this study is to study the prevalence and level of social anxiety among students, as well as the relationship between social anxiety and suicidal thinking and behavior.

Material and methods

553 third-year students of Moscow humanitarian universities were examined. Among them, 246 boys and 307 girls, the average age is 21 years. The study was conducted anonymously, face-to-face.

The methodological complex included the following questionnaires: to assess the severity of social anxiety, the following were used: Social Avoidance and Distress Scale (SADS), which is aimed at assessing the tendency to avoid social situations and discomfort in such situations [16]; the scale of fear of negative evaluation (Fear of Negative Evaluation, FNE), focused on measuring the level of anxiety in evaluation situations [16]; Brief Social Phobia Scale (BSPS) [15]. To assess the presence of suicidal orientation, the scale “Suicidal thoughts and desires” was analyzed in the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI, adapted by N. V. Tarabrina) [9].

To identify groups with a high level of social anxiety, the percentile method was used, which allows you to show the percentage of cases in a certain general population with estimates equal to or less than a given percentile value. Thus, the percentile method provides more accurate information than just reporting that a certain value of a variable falls above or below the mean in a given distribution. The obtained results were processed using the SPSS for Windows 11.0 statistical software package. nine0003

Results and discussion

The study participants were divided into 3 groups: with low, medium and high levels of social anxiety (percentile values ​​- 0/33/66). Since social anxiety is heterogeneous and includes various manifestations, the division was carried out according to the following aspects: social avoidance and social distress, fear of social evaluation and indicators on the scale of social phobia.

B tab. 1 shows the results of the distribution of the level of social anxiety in the study sample. In the surveyed sample 9(1.6%) of students had BSPS scores of 41 or higher, which, according to studies [15], indicates with a high degree of probability that they have a clinical form of social phobia.

B tab. 2 provides data on the distribution of students by the presence and severity of suicidal thinking. Based on these data, 28% of students have suicidal thoughts and intentions, 4% of which are ready to commit suicide at the right time.

nine0002 B tab. 3 presents the results of the student sample distribution according to the indicators of suicidal thinking in boys and girls. There were many more students without suicidal thoughts among boys than among girls. Only half of the girls (55%) do not have suicidal thoughts. Among young men, there are more students without suicidal intentions (79%), but also more ready to commit suicide at the right moment (6%), the latter figure being 3 times higher than that of girls. Statistical level of significance of the obtained differences - p <0.001.

B tab. 4 shows the data of the study of the relationship between indicators of social anxiety and suicidal thinking among students. As can be seen from the data presented, a significant positive correlation was found between the studied variables: the higher the level of social anxiety in the form of social avoidance and distress, social phobia and fear of social evaluation, the higher the indicator of suicidal thinking. nine0003

B tab. 5 shows the results of comparing groups with different levels of social anxiety in terms of suicidal thinking. As can be seen from the above data, students with a high level of social anxiety have more pronounced suicidal intentions than students with low and medium levels of social anxiety. So, in the group of students with a high level of social anxiety, 40% have a pronounced suicidal orientation of thinking. In addition, the largest percentage of students who are ready to commit suicide at the right moment falls precisely on the group with a high level of social anxiety - 7%. Statistical level of significance of the obtained differences - p <0.001.

The obtained data are consistent with the results of other researchers. So, in the course of a study of the prevalence and severity of suicidal behavior in the student population, conducted in 2009 by A.B. Kholmogorova et al. [11], it was found that students with a pronounced suicidal orientation demonstrate higher rates of social anxiety in the form of social distress and avoidance.

In the process of a "sectional" study of emotional maladaptation in the student population over the course of 4 years, we revealed some dynamics in terms of suicidal thinking and behavior among third-year students of humanitarian universities. AT tab. 6 shows the results of the distribution of students in terms of suicidal thinking and behavior in different years - from 2009 to 2012. This figure increased to 21%, a year later, in the sample of students, suicidal thinking was noted in 24%, and by 2012 they became 28%. At the same time, similar dynamics is observed with the number of students who want to commit suicide at the right moment - 1.8, 2.0, 2.6 and 4.0%. nine0003

In conclusion, we note that a high level of social anxiety negatively affects the quality of life of an individual. In a student environment, this can be especially pronounced in connection with the need to constantly interact with classmates and teachers. The success of training and emotional well-being at the university largely depend on the social activity of the student, so social anxiety can become

a serious obstacle to the development and self-realization of a young man. Social anxiety is closely related to such a manifestation of emotional maladjustment as suicidal thinking and behavior. The results of the study clearly demonstrate the deterioration of emotional well-being in the student population in the form of suicidal thinking, setting the task of organizing the work of the psychological support service for students and psychoprophylactic work in universities. nine0003

Social anxiety? 3 Reasons to Try Group Therapy

Research shows that group therapy is effective in reducing social anxiety.

As the event approaches, your heart rate increases and your palms sweat.

According to the American Anxiety and Depression Association, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness diagnosed in the United States, affecting more than 40 million adults, or 18% of the total population. nine0003

If left untreated, anxiety disorders tend to get worse, limiting your life and causing you to withdraw from the world. The more you go into isolation, the more your symptoms get worse. And soon, daily activities such as ordering food at a restaurant or buying stamps at the post office cause panic. Unfortunately, sometimes people even try to cope with anxiety through drugs or alcohol. While individual therapy may offer relief, research published by Reuters has shown that group therapy is effective for people suffering from social anxiety in particular, and recommends that group therapy be preferred in such cases. nine0003

What makes groups effective? People with social anxiety feel much calmer in one-on-one communication, which is what individual therapy suggests. In one-on-one communication, they do not experience the anxiety that appears when they find themselves in society. Usually, they give details about incidents of high anxiety that occur outside of the therapist's office, but it can be difficult for the therapist to determine if the stories are distorted or inaccurate. For example:

  • Did everyone really look at them?
  • Did anyone really criticize them?
  • Do they cause negative reactions in others?

In group therapy, however, therapists observe social anxiety in action and can identify causes and triggering conditions. For example, anxiety can be the result of misunderstandings, negative projections, gender issues, or old trauma. Armed with this insight, group therapists can intervene at the point of anxiety and help the person with social anxiety learn to manage their feelings, reduce distortions, and make healthier choices. nine0003

3 Ways Group Therapy Also Helps Reduce Social Anxiety:

1. Group Prevents Social Isolation

Group Therapy Prevents Social Isolation by Providing New, Supportive Relationships. In addition, in the group you find that you are not alone, other people share your fears and worries. As a result, you develop a deeper compassion and empathy for your own difficulties and those of others. The experience of working in a group promotes bonding and social healing. nine0003

2. The group develops social skills

The group provides a place to practice vital social skills such as self-expression, setting boundaries and developing emotional communication. And the best part: when your anxiety suddenly flares up, the group leader is there to help you deal with it and build resilience.

3. The group recreates the social environment

Social anxiety requires social treatment. Group therapy helps you better manage your fears by providing a safe, supportive social environment in which to live and gain an understanding of the causes of your anxiety. nine0003

Marsha Martian

Marsha has struggled with social anxiety for most of her life. Like many people who struggle with anxiety, she has a history of social trauma. She remembered how she panicked in elementary school when the teacher called her. “My face was covered with crimson spots. The children said I became Mars, the red planet. She began to be called Marsha the Martian."

During her high school and college years, she avoided public speaking, skipped parties, and avoided gatherings. nine0078 “I spent most of my time in my dorm room or in the library. I missed a lot."

When I suggested that Marsha try joining one of my weekly therapy groups, like most people with social anxiety, she said no. "Groups are like a firing squad for me. Why would I do this to myself?"

Over time, she agreed to join one of the groups. “I was desperate. I have an aunt who does not leave her house. I was afraid it might happen to me in the future.

Learn more