Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 11 Issue 1 (January/February 2001), Pages 1-73

Mental health professionals' support of self‐help groups (pages 1-10)


Objective. Self‐help groups and other consumer‐led services are viewed as valuable additions to mental health services. This study describes professional support for self‐help groups and examines the hypothesis that professional support of self‐help is influenced by the degree to which professionally‐led groups are viewed as more helpful than self‐help groups. Method. Survey data were obtained from a representative sample of over 900 mental health professionals employed in mental health agencies in a large US State. The survey assessed beliefs, behaviours, attitudes, and intentions toward professional and self‐help groups. Results. Respondents who perceive professionally‐led groups to be significantly more helpful than self‐help groups were less inclined to support self‐help groups through referrals, help in organizing groups, or financially. Conclusion. To the extent that professional support of the self‐help movement is diminished, valuable allies in the struggle to expand the reach of mental health services are lost. It is proposed that mental health professionals should obtain additional information about the benefits of self‐help and the constructive role that self‐help groups can play in expanding the availability and continuum of beneficial mental health services. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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