Assessing the Impact and Effectiveness of Hearing Voices Network Self-Help Groups

Abstract

The Hearing Voices Network (HVN) is an influential service-user led organisation that promotes self-help as an important aspect of recovery. This study presents the first systematic assessment of the impact and effectiveness of HVN self-help groups. A customized 45-item questionnaire, the Hearing Voices Groups Survey, was sent to 62 groups affiliated with the English HVN. 101 responses were received. Group attendance was credited with a range of positive emotional, social and clinical outcomes. Aspects that were particularly valued included: opportunities to meet other voice hearers, provision of support that was unavailable elsewhere, and the group being a safe and confidential place to discuss difficult issues. Participants perceived HVN groups to facilitate recovery processes and to be an important resource for helping them cope with their experiences. Mental health professionals can use their expertise to support the successful running of these groups.

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Correspondence to Eleanor Longden.

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Ethical approval was received from the Committee on Research Ethics at the University of Liverpool and all participants provided written consent. Funding for this study was received from the Hearing the Voice project at the University of Durham, which is funded by a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award. Jacqui Dillon and Eleanor Longden have a non-financial professional association with the Hearing Voices Network and Jacqui Dillon provides paid training on facilitating and supporting hearing voices groups.

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Longden, E., Read, J. & Dillon, J. Assessing the Impact and Effectiveness of Hearing Voices Network Self-Help Groups. Community Ment Health J 54, 184–188 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-017-0148-1

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Keywords

  • Group psychotherapy
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Psychosocial interventions
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Social functioning
  • Vocational rehabilitation