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The effectiveness of support groups: a literature review

Hugh Worrall (One Door Mental Health, Sydney, Australia)
Richard Schweizer (One Door Mental Health, Sydney, Australia)
Ellen Marks (One Door Mental Health, Sydney, Australia)
Lin Yuan (School of Nursing, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia)
Chris Lloyd (Griffith University, Sydney, Australia)
Rob Ramjan (One Door Mental Health, Sydney, Australia)

Mental Health and Social Inclusion

ISSN: 2042-8308

Article publication date: 9 April 2018

Abstract

Purpose

Support groups are a common feature of the mental health support engaged by carers and consumers. The purpose of this paper is to update and consolidate the knowledge and the evidence for the effectiveness of mental health support groups.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on a systematic literature review of relevant databases around support groups for mental health. Support groups are defined as meetings of people with similar experiences, such as those defined as carers of a person living with a mental illness or a person living with a mental illness. These meetings aim to provide support and companionship to one another.

Findings

The results show that there is a consistent pattern of evidence, over a long period of time, which confirms the effectiveness of mental health support groups for carers and people living with mental illness. There is strong, scientifically rigorous evidence which shows the effectiveness of professionally facilitated, family-led support groups, psychoeducation carers support groups, and professionally facilitated, program-based support groups for people living with mental illness.

Research limitations/implications

This research implies the use of support groups is an important adjunct to the support of carers and people with mental illness, including severe mental illness.

Originality/value

This research brings together a range of studies indicating the usefulness of support groups as an adjunct to mental health therapy.

Keywords

Citation

Worrall, H., Schweizer, R., Marks, E., Yuan, L., Lloyd, C. and Ramjan, R. (2018), "The effectiveness of support groups: a literature review", Mental Health and Social Inclusion, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 85-93. https://doi.org/10.1108/MHSI-12-2017-0055

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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