Mutual Help Groups: An Important Gateway To Well-Being And Mental Health

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Authors: Lizzie Finn, WA Brian Bishop, WA

Year: 2003

Event: 2003 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Consumer - Led Organisations, GROW

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

ISBN: 1876939184

Abstract: This study investigated the impact of GROW, an Australia-wide community mental health organization, on psychological well-being and mental health. A cross-sectional survey of some 900 GROW members using a six-factor scale of psychological well-being [Autonomy, Environmental Mastery, Self Acceptance, Positive Relations with Others, Purpose in Life and Personal Growth] was conducted. The results pointed to length of membership/ extent of involvement in GROW activities as being related to improved well-being, and a reduction in medication and hospitalization. In a longitudinal study surveying the well-being of 28 new GROW members with six-month follow up, there were statistically significant improvements on well-being factors relating to life management skills. A major theme emerging from ethnographic and phenomenological research was that GROW offers a ‘real life’ mini-community where people learn social and life management skills. However beyond skills acquisition, GROW offers the potential for identity transformation by assisting the realization of core human needs - a sense of feeling useful, valuable and belonging.

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