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Mutual support and self-help includes services that provide information and peer support to people with a lived experience of mental illness. People meet to discuss shared experiences, coping strategies and to provide information and referrals (Metropolitan Health and Aged Care Services Division 2003). Self-help groups are usually formed by peers who have come together for mutual support and to accomplish a specific purpose (Solomon 2004).


Guide for use:
Distinguishing features:

  • Group-based services
  • Comprising individuals with common experience and interest
  • Led by one or more volunteer/unpaid consumer peers
  • Provided on a face-to-face basis or through interactive online forums. Please note, while this service type can be conducted though interactive online forums, the online activity is not intended to be measured under the Mental health non-government organisation establishments NMDS.
  • Self-help
  • Warm lines
  • Services that, while delivered by peers, are better categorised in other service types, e.g. peer-led employment-oriented services; personalised support services provided by peer workers
  • Services where the peer-leader is employed by the NGO (these services will be reported under other service types, e.g. Personalised support or Group support activities)
  • Mutual support and self-help activities provided for and/or by carers and/or families of people with mental illness (these are reported under Family and carer support)
  • Online, population-based self-help programs (these are reported under Self-help—online)

Example services:

  • GROW
  • Voice Hearers Group
  • Phone connection

Mental health non-government organisation establishments service type taxonomy.


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