What is a self help group?
A self help group is a group of people who have a first-hand understanding of a particular life situation or health issue, such as a long term condition. This may be from their own experience of as a parent, family member, friend or carer. Many people find that it helps to talk to someone who understands because they have been in the same situation.
How do groups run?
Self help groups usually run independently and are organised by their members. However, sometimes professionals, such as healthcare workers, facilitate them. Groups vary in how they operate. Some elect a committee, have a bank account and put together a calendar of events and speakers; others are very informal. Membership numbers vary from a handful of people to over 100. Most groups hold regular meetings, some keep in contact by telephone, email or online groups and forums.
Why would I attend a group?
People attend groups for many different reasons. Some simply want information and will then move on, while others want to make sense of what is happening to them by talking to people who have been through a similar experience.
" I met people who had been there, done that and come out the other end! "
" In coming to the group, I did something for myself. In listening and sharing, I did something for others. "
It is important that support be there for people when they need it, whatever form it may take. That is what self help groups provide.
Self Help UK can support groups at any stage of their journey from starting up to ten years on.