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-- Helen Keller

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The Value of Self-Help Support Groups

Former Surgeon General Koop has noted that "My years as a medical practitioner, as well as my own first-hand experience, has taught me how important self-help groups are in assisting their members in dealing with problems, stress, hardship and pain... Today, the benefits of mutual aid experienced by millions of people who turn to others with a similar problem to attempt to deal with their isolation, powerlessness, alienation, and the awful feeling that nobody understands." - former Surgeon General Koop (in the book, Self-Help: Concepts and Applications, edited by A. Katz, et. al,Charles Press, 1992).

"Mutual help groups are a powerful and constructive means for people to help themselves and each other. The basic dignity of each human being is expressed in his or her capacity to be involved in a reciprocal helping exchange. Out of this compassion comes cooperation. From this cooperation comes community." - Phyllis Silverman, PhD, Dept of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, from Introduction to the "Self-Help Sourcebook," 1995, p. 24.

"These groups make significant contributions to positive outcomes for persons affected by mental & behavioral disorders." - from "Healthy People 2000: National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives" (1991) report issued by U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, setting the establishment of self-help clearinghouses in 25 states as one of the official national health objectives for the year 2000.

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can seriously help another without helping himself." - Charles Dudley Warner, 1873, American essayist, editor, novelist

The future of health care in these troubled times requires cooperation between organized medicine and self-help groups to achieve the best care for the lowest cost" - former Surgeon General Koop, (in the book "Self-Help: Concepts and Applications" edited by A. Katz, et. al, Charles Press, 1992).

In an interview (in NJ Monthly, January, 1992, p. 32), national pollster George Gallup commented upon the despondency and apprehension that many Americans felt in the face of the problems of the economy, crime, drugs, and education. When asked if all the future trends were doom and gloom, he concluded the the interview by answering: "Not at all.... there is a widespread tendency among Americans to get together in small groups - support groups, self-help groups, groups of all kinds, really. In our fragmented society, where loneliness and isolation are so prevalent, it is encouraging to see so many people reaching out to each other. It's a very hopeful sign for the future."

Copyright American Self-Help Clearinghouse, 1993-2007
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