For Self Care Week 2015 we are providing insights and information into the Who, What, When, Where and Why of self-care. Friday brings us 'Why'.
Introducing Self Help Connect UK
Self Help Connect UK is the national division of Self Help Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, a unique organisation which helps create, support and promote self help groups.
We have more than 30 years of experience in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, with an enviable reputation for helping people to start and grow self help groups to improve their health and wellbeing. We also bridge the gap between these groups and health and social care professionals.
Building on the successful model we have developed during our 30 years in Nottinghamshire, we were asked by the Department of Health to use our knowledge and expertise to support other areas of the UK. While Self Help Nottingham and Nottinghamshire remains a beacon of best practice, our national arm - Self Help Connect UK - now fulfils contracts in different locations in the UK.
Over the last few years, we have successfully supported Shropshire, Telford, Worcestershire and Stoke-on-Trent to systemise their approach to their local self help group sector. We are currently working with partner agencies in Leicestershire and London to help them achieve the same goal.
To find out how we can support you to increase self-care download the Self Help Connect UK brochure.
More information about how Self Help Connect UK can support the development of self help groups in your area.
Helping people to help themselves
People often find it useful to talk to others who face the same issues or share the same experiences that they do. Whether that’s dealing with a long-term medical condition or facing a life-changing experience like bereavement, self help groups are people who come together to offer and receive support.
They usually centre round a community of interest (for example diabetes or bereavement) and can cover a variety of issues including:
long-term medical conditions
recovery from substance misuse
difficult life situations
mental health issues
People go to self help support groups for many different reasons. Some simply want information and will then move on, while others may want to make sense of what is happening to them by sharing their experiences with those who have been through something similar.
The most important thing, however, is that the support is there for people when they need it, whatever form it may take. And that is what self help groups provide.
Counting the benefits
There are a multitude of benefits from engaging with self help groups, and how you can benefit depends on your relationship with a group.
So whether you're a member, a practitioner working with a group or someone involved in commissioning a self help group’s services, make sure you check out the positives you can get from being involved.
Participants can see a number of benefits from being involved, including:
Meeting, sharing and talking with others who have a similar condition or shared experience
An end to isolation, leading to improved mood, health and well-being
Access to relevant information and advice
The chance to explore new ideas and coping strategies
Feeling empowered and better able to manage their condition
Getting a boost to their self esteem and confidence so they feel less isolated and anxious
The opportunity to develop new skills.
Why not watch the video at the top of this page to hear people talk about the impact their self help group has had on their lives.
You can benefit by:
Helping communicate key health and well-being messages to group members and the wider communities
Supporting the health and well-being of patients and potential patients in a specific locality
Helping to clarify information about health care, political changes, new developments and support
Supporting their own professional development
Providing access to people, often from hard-to-reach groups, who can get involved in service design and delivery.
You can get a number of benefits from engaging with self help groups and supporting their development. These include:
Supporting their self-care objectives
Gaining access to people, often from hard-to-reach groups, who can get involved in service design and delivery, so fulfilling patient involvement targets
Improving the health and well-being of people within a specific locality, and potentially reducing the burden on the NHS
Self Help Connect UK produces a range of publications tailored specifically for self help groups, the professionals working with them, or researchers. For more details about our available publications.
Contact us on: 0115 911 1662 (Monday-Friday, 9.00am-5.00pm) if you would like to order any of our publications. Regrettably, we can’t currently accept debit/credit card payments or online payments.
If you would like to place an order from outside the UK, please contact us first so that we can adjust the postage and packing costs.
Discounts are available for multiple copies - please contact us for more details. We aim to despatch orders within 48 hours.
ESTEEM study to champion practitioner involvement with self help!
The three-year ESTEEM (Effective Support for Self Help/Mutual aid groups) research project began in May 2010. Funded by the Big Lottery, the project is a partnership between Self Help Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Nottingham.
The aim of the study, which was carried out by researchers at Nottingham University and Anglia Ruskin University, was to look at ways practitioners can best support local self help groups.
The research was a tale of two counties – Essex and Nottinghamshire – and examined the relationships between self help groups and health and social care professionals.
The findings of the research will help improve the quality of advice and support being given to self help groups by community practitioners through the provision of appropriate guidance and resources, with better relationships between professionals supporting the development of resourceful self help groups in the future.
More about the ESTEEM research