Mental Health Support and Self-Help Groups
Mental health self-help and support groups are increasingly a part of recovery from mental illnesses. According to a new report from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), many people are using these groups to complement traditional forms of treatment.
Mental Health Support and Self-Help Groups examined the characteristics of adults age 18 or older who received treatment, counseling, or support for emotions, nerves, or mental health in the past year from an in-person support or self-help group.
Of the 28.8 million adults who received any of the traditional types of mental health treatment in the past year, about 5.5 percent also received support from a self-help group.
Combined 2005 to 2008 data indicate that an annual average of 2.4 million adults age 18 or older (1.1 percent of the population in that age group) received support from a mental health self-help group for their emotions, nerves, or mental health problems in the past year.
Approximately 61.2 percent were female; 89.4 percent were over 25 years of age; and 46.8 percent were employed full-time.
Two-thirds (65.6 percent) of adults who participated in self-help groups also received traditional treatment (i.e., inpatient, outpatient, or prescription medication) in the past year. This number includes 186,000 (7.7 percent of self-help group users) who also received inpatient care, 1.2 million (51.0 percent) who also received outpatient care, and 1.3 million (53.2 percent) who also received prescription medication.
An estimated 829,000 users of self-help groups (34.4 percent) did not receive traditional mental health treatment in the past year.
Mental Health Support and Self-Help Groups is available from SAMHSA’s Office of Applied Studies.