Thursday, August 28, 2008

Support groups and community resources: online resources

I recently discovered a new resource (new to me at least) that I thought I would share. I came across The Self-Help Sourcebook Online when I was doing some collection developement at the Patient and Family Resource Centre.*

The Self-Help Sourcebook Online is a searchable database that includes information on over 1,100+ national, international and demonstrational model self-help support groups, ideas for starting groups, and opportunities to link with others to develop needed new national or international groups.

This database uses information provided by the American Self-Help Clearinghouse, a department of the Behavioral Health Center of Saint Clare's Health Services in Denville, NJ, which published The Self-Help Sourcebook, 7th Edition in Fall, 2002.

Type in your keyword or select a "problem" from a drop down list, and you are provided with a list of support groups and community resources. It is very comprehensive, providing links to groups for everything from acne scars to albinism to selective mutism to cancer to workaholics to depression... well you get the idea.

One of the things I especially like about it is that it provides guidance for those people who would like to develop their own support group, in case there isn't one locally.

You can also browse a list of similar international clearinghouses. The Information and Referral Centre of Greater Montreal is particularly interesting to me of course. Check to see if your state/province or country is listed.

*I found the Sourcebook listed in the CAPHIS Consumer Health Bibliography for the Small Public Library.


Anonymous said...

There are also an increasing number of online groups being added to the Sourcebook, from "Totally Hip"
for those anticipating or who have had hip replacement surgery, to the "National Students of Ailing Mothers & Fathers Support Network" for college students who try to study while a parent deals with a life-threatening illness. Instead of using the drop-down menu selection of issues, just type your own keyword into the search engine there. If you cannot find a group there, write them at and they'll research the availability of an online group. Or, if you are interested, help you join with others to start a group!

"I'm personally convinced that patients facing an illness and/or disability - as well as their spouse, parents, and family - want health information online not just as it can be downloaded or shoveled out, but within the context of a supportive community of peers - sort of a live Consumer Reports team analysis." - Ed Madara
As quoted in the presentation, "A Personal Weapon In the War on Chronic Illness: Expert Patients and Their Use of Health Information" by Teresa Hartman & Dr. Diane Tobin Johnson, at the Medical Library Association Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, May 20, 2007 (

FF said...

Thanks for your comment, Anonymous! I believe is very important for people to find support within a community of peers, although I would stress that it is equally important to make sure that whatever information is being shared there is coming from a trustworthy source.