Self help work in Norway
Self help – a way of thinking – and an important part of public health
In Norway self help represents self help groups but also a way of thinking. This means that the tools of self help can be used in our everyday life: at home, at school, at work as well as during self help groups sessions.
There are very few limitations when it comes to which groups of people can benefit from self help. "The Public Health Report" (Report No. 34 to the Parliament, 2012/2013), describes self help as part of the work with public health.
The recognition of self help in public policy is important in the work of spreading knowledge and information among people in Norway.
Local meeting points
Self Help Norway - The National resource center for Self Help is financed by The Directorate of Health.
Self help Norway's regional offices support the local meeting points with information, knowledge and experience about self help.Local meeting points are owned and funded by local authorities or volunteer organizations. They inform about and start self help groups. In addition to the local meeting point there are two clearing houses in Norway (LINKs).
Self help groups
In Norway there are several types of self help groups:
- traditional self help groups which consists of people with the same or similar diagnosis
- neutral groups, where the participants have different problems within the same group, but share the same motivation to create change
It might be difficult to see how neutral groups can function and how it can be useful for the participants, but many years of experience show that they do. You can join a self help group even if your problem "has no name". Participation in a self help group can be a preventive activity when it is possible for a person to handle an issue at an early stage, before it escalates.
It might also be easier to start neutral groups in rural areas where there are fewer people with same illnesses or diagnoses.