Mutual help groups: an important gateway to wellbeing and mental health

Lisabeth D Finn, Brian Bishop, Neville H Sparrow
2007 Australian Health Review  
Objective: This study investigated the impact of GROW, an Australia-wide community mental health organisation, on psychological wellbeing and mental health. Design: Triangulation of quantitative and qualitative research methods was employed. The study included a cross-sectional and a longitudinal survey of GROW members together with ethnographic and phenomenological work. Research outcomes: The results pointed to length of membership/extent of involvement in GROW activities as being associated
more » ... ith improved wellbeing in the areas of autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, and selfacceptance/purpose in life, together with a reduction in medication and hospitalisation. In a longitudinal study surveying the wellbeing of 28 new GROW members with 6-month follow-up, there were statistically significant improvements on all wellbeing factors. 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 realisation of core human needs -a Aust Health Rev 2007: 31(2): 246-255 sense of feeling useful, valuable and belonging.
doi:10.1071/ah070246 pmid:17470046 fatcat:3nlsqmkl7vdqzhb6g6dtycyxsa