ASSESSING THE NEEDS AND STRENGTHS OF SELF-HELP GROUPS: OPPORTUNITIES TO MEET HEALTH CARE NEEDS
AbstractOver 15 years ago the Self-Help Network, a statewide clearinghouse for self-help groups, conducted a needs assessment of groups. Findings from that needs assessment provided direction for the activities of the Self-Help Network and insights for health and human service professionals. Health care has changed dramatically over the past 15 years, including interest in alternative treatments, higher costs, managed care, and greater use of Web-based information. It is difficult to determine what impact, if any, these changes have had on the needs of self-help groups. Consequently, the Self-Help Network conducted another asset and needs assessment of groups. Findings show that groups primarily need public awareness and referrals. Groups struggle with organizational issues such as finding meeting locations and shared leadership. The primary benefits of groups are the sharing between members, followed by information and education. Implications for health and human service professionals are discussed, including insights on how they can provide referrals and technical assistance to groups.
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