Coping with mental illness : a case study in initiating a support group in Mamre

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The aim of this dissertation is to provide a detailed description and partial evaluation of a support group for psychiatric outpatients and their relatives in Mamre. The first nineteen sessions of the support group are described in detail, and the evaluation information was obtained from the participants at the evaluation workshop held in February 1992, as well as the facilitator's observations. The nineteen group sessions were usually held once. a month, .but not every month, between June 1990 and February 1992. The sessions were all held on Sunday afternoons and usually lasted two to two-and-a-half hours. · All known psychiatric out-patients in Mamre and their families were invited to all the meetings. Attendance varied, but a group of approximately 11 regular attenders emerged over the nineteen sessions. Three community workers also joined the group at various stages and became regular participants in the group. The preliminary evaluation of the group revealed that the group is functioning within the working phase of group development, and that the group provided a number of benefits to the regular participants. The evaluation also highlighted issues of autonomy, heterogeneity and non-adherence. Suggestions for further research and group aims, focusing around these issues, are made.

Bibliography: leaves 58-64.