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Parent support groups bring together parents of children with similar symptoms or diagnoses in an environment designed to be safe for mutual sharing and learning. These groups are applicable in any setting or with any diagnosis and can be led by professionals or consumers. Such groups can alleviate parent burden by providing essential information, peer support, coping skills, and respite from the strain of life with a chronically ill child (Hellander et al. 2003). These goals match well with the three basic needs for which individuals join self-help groups: social support, practical information, and a sense of shared purpose or advocacy (Bennett et al. 1996; Koroloff and Friesen 1991; Madara 1997). A national survey of parents of children with emotional or behavioral disorders showed that 72% of respondents found emotional support to be the most helpful aspect of family support services (Friesen and Koroloff 1990). Approximately 70% of Americans suffering from mental disorders rely solely on self- and mutual-help options rather than specialized mental health care (Norcross 2000).

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Table Reference Number
TABLE 54–12. Role and tasks of a support group facilitator
Table Reference Number
TABLE 54–13. Support groups and Internet resources

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