The objective of this study was to discover the concept of social support for people with mental and familiar disorders, as well as to identify the social support network of these social actors. This is a descriptive and exploratory research with a qualitative approach, developed at the Federal University of Parana - Curitiba, Brazil, from August to December of 2009. Three individuals with respective mental disorders and six relatives participated in this study. Data was obtained through the Group Discussion technique and then categorized by thematic analysis. The results help to better understand the significance and contribution of a social support network among familiar and mental disorder patients, as well as its negative aspects. They also revealed that the network is composed of church groups, health services, family, and others. We conclude that this study helped its subjects to reflect about their social support networks, strengthened interpersonal bonds, and favored the improvement of self-esteem and social inclusion.
Social support; Mental health; Mental disorders; Health promotion