Mental health and growth group tradition

Mark has just posted a series of very open and remarkable posts about his painful experiences of his wife's mental illness. It is warming to read and surely brave to write. Thanks Mark.
I think we do have a need for support groups where we can just talk openly with others about our struggles. In my circles this is not well dealt with in our church's structures.

The main community structure we provide is the growth group/Bible study group. But, we insist that this is for growth in the gospel through prayer and Bible study first and foremost. It is not just a share and care group. The theory goes, if you get this right, then all the others things (community, evangelism, sharing) will flow naturally out of that.

From my experiences, the other things don't often flow naturally out. If there is not structural modelling of the other things, we don't know how to do them. More than that, there is an implicit, unspoken message that you cannot focus on them for fear of overemphasising them.

In my experiences the occasional group just happens to gel and all the things flow. But most of the groups are average. More than that, in most groups, not only does communtiy, sharing and evangelism suffer, but even prayer gets gradually depleted to a little 5 minute slot at the end.

There seems to be a great deal of room for simple, loving support groups, both in caring for the church and for serving the community we live in. But as far as I can see, the current growth group model just doesn't deliver.