Theoretical Foundations of Mental Health Self-Help

  • Louis D. Brown
  • Alicia Lucksted


This chapter reviews the theoretical perspectives commonly applied to mental health self-help (MHSH). First, recovery and community integration are multifaceted constructs often used to conceptualize the outcomes of participation in MHSH initiatives. Second, we present several perspectives on MHSH setting characteristics that influence individual outcomes, including sense of community, behavior setting theory, and empowerment theory. Third, we summarize theoretical perspectives providing insight into how individuals benefit from their interactions with self-help settings, including the helper-therapy principle, experiential knowledge, social comparison theory, and social support theories. Finally, the Role Framework provides a theoretical model that helps to integrate and extend these different perspectives in the literature.


Experiential Knowledge Serious Mental Illness Community Integration Interpersonal Process Mental Health Consumer 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louis D. Brown
    • 1
  • Alicia Lucksted
    • 2
  1. 1.Prevention Research CenterThe Pennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA
  2. 2.Center for Mental Health Services Research, Division of Services Research, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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