© 2010

Mental Health Self-Help

Consumer and Family Initiatives

  • Louis D. Brown
  • Scott Wituk

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxii
  2. Frameworks for Research and Practice

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 17-17
    2. Louis D. Brown, Scott Wituk
      Pages 1-15
  3. Frameworks for Research and Practice

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 17-17
    2. Louis D. Brown, Alicia Lucksted
      Pages 19-38
  4. MHSH groups

  5. Consumer-Delivered Services

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 153-153
    2. Louis D. Brown, Scott Wituk, Greg Meissen
      Pages 155-167
    3. Emily A. Grant, Nathan Swink, Crystal Reinhart, Scott Wituk
      Pages 193-209
  6. MHSH Policy

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 211-211
    2. Crystal R. Blyler, Risa Fox, Neal B. Brown
      Pages 235-262
  7. Technical Assistance

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 263-263
    2. Oliwier Dziadkowiec, Crystal Reinhart, Chi Connie Vu, Todd Shagott, Ashlee Keele-Lien, Adrienne Banta et al.
      Pages 287-300

About this book


Building on earlier patient-empowerment movements, consumer- and advocate-driven mental health self-help (MHSH) initiatives currently outnumber traditional mental health organizations. At the same time, this apparent success raises significant questions about their short-term efficacy and their value to lasting recovery.

Mental Health Self-Help assembles the state of the evidence on the effectiveness of MHSH, beginning with the individual and larger social factors behind the expansion of consumer-directed services. Clearly organized and accessibly written, the book traces the development and evolution of MHSH as both alternative and adjunct to traditional mental health structures, offers research-based perspectives on the various forms of MHSH, and identifies potential areas for consumer initiatives to work with—and help improve—mental health systems. Contributors weigh strengths and limitations, raise research and methodology questions, and discuss funding and training issues to give readers a deeper understanding of the field and an informed look at its future impact on mental health treatment. Individual chapters cover the spectrum of contemporary self-help initiatives in mental health, including:

• Online mutual aid groups.

• Consumer-run drop-in centers.

• Family and caregiver groups.

• Certified peer support specialists.

• Consumer advocacy initiatives.

• Technical assistance organizations.

• Professional/self-help collaborations.

Mental Health Self-Help is a bedrock guide to an increasingly influential aspect of the mental health landscape. Researchers studying these initiatives from a variety of fields including community and clinical psychology, and public health—as well as clinicians, counselors, social workers, case managers, and policymakers—will find it an indispensable reference.


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Editors and affiliations

  • Louis D. Brown
    • 1
  • Scott Wituk
    • 2
  1. 1., Prevention Research CenterThe Pennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA
  2. 2.Wichita State UniversityWichitaUSA

About the editors

Louis D. Brown is a community psychologist and research faculty member of The Pennsylvania State University. His research examines how people engage in and benefit from self-help/mutual support initiatives. As a Research Associate at the Penn State Prevention Research Center, Dr. Brown also studies community health partnerships and the implementation of evidence-based programs to promote healthy youth development.

Scott Wituk, PhD, is the Director of the Center for Community Support and Research (CCSR) at Wichita State University. Previously he served as the Research Coordinator at CCSR. In these positions he has conducted community-based research projects with self-help groups, coalitions, nonprofits, and other community-based organizations. He has over 30 peer reviewed publications and book chapters and numerous professional presentations.

Bibliographic information