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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Self-help in mental health : operationalizing a conceptual model Pulcins, Indra R.


This study aims to examine the self-help mode of care giving in mental health, especially the manner in which the working self-help model differs from its theoretical counterpart. For this purpose, a conceptual model of operationalizing self-help has been developed. This model traces the process of establishing self-help groups, from theory to practice, and incorporates the barriers such groups may face in becoming a viable alternative to the current health care system. These include the effects of public policy, the professional and the community. The results of this study, based on empirical evidence collected in Vancouver, B.C., suggest that at least to some extent, this model does accurately depict the processes involved with the operationalization of a self-help model, as well as the factors impinging on a full realization of self-help goals. Both public policy and professional influences serve to act as direct constraints to the full implementation of self-help. The community does not share this characteristic, partially due to favourable zoning policy in Vancouver. In spite of these barriers, self-help groups are able to function as an effective alternative. However, it is demonstrated that some of their original goals have not been fulfilled. In conclusion, a theoretical perspective, in the context of Marx and Weber, is outlined, thereby suggesting some of the broader issues associated with implementing a self-help model.

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