Lucock, Mike, Mirza, Maryam and Sharma, Indhu (2007) Service users' views of a self-help pack for anxiety. Journal of Mental Health, 16 (5). pp. 635-646. ISSN 09638237

Background: Despite some evidence for the effectiveness of self-help approaches and their recommended use in recent NICE guidance for anxiety and depression, more research is needed into service users' views of self-help materials and their effectiveness in different service settings, including self-help groups.

Aim: To obtain the views of a group of mental health service users who attended a self-help organization of (a) a self-help anxiety pack, (b) the impact it had on their coping, and (c) the impact on them of the user consultation exercise.

Method: The views were obtained through focus groups using a semi-structured interview schedule and were then subject to qualitative template analysis.

Results: The emergent themes included recommendations for improving the pack by making it briefer, more readable and less technical. Other clear themes were the value of working with the pack as a group and concerns about individuals being able to make use of the pack without support and guidance. The implications of these findings for the development and implementation of self-help approaches for mental health problems and research with community-based self-help groups are discussed.

Conclusions: Service user views of self-help approaches can inform the development of accessible and acceptable materials and clarify the support required to make effective use of the material.

Declaration of interest: This study was funded by the University of Huddersfield.

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