Brown LD, Shepherd MD, Wituk SA, Meissen G
Am J Community Psychol 2008 Sep;42(1-2):105-9
Since the 1950s, people with mental illness and their families have been organizing a wide range of self-directed, mutual support oriented initiatives, including self-help groups, nonprofit organizations, and businesses. These initiatives have become increasingly widespread over the years and today mental health self-help initiatives outnumber traditional mental health organizations in the United States (Goldstrom et al., Admin Policy Mental Health Mental Health Serv Res 33:92-103, 2006). Mental health self-help embodies much of what community psychologists promote, including the self-directed organization of people to create social change and facilitate personal transformation. This special issue provides new insight into several prominent areas of inquiry surrounding these low-cost interventions including: (1) their evidence base; (2) the processes by which people benefit; (3) how they interface with the mental health system; and (4) the value dilemmas they face.