14 May 2013. The UK/European Symposium on Addictive Disorders (UKESAD) held its 10th annual conference in London in May 2013, bringing together 60 world class experts addiction recovery, who shared their knowledge and expertise with attendees at over 40 presentations. IFBC General Secretary Anne Babb provided a brief summary of the recent Self-Help survey conducted by IFBC.
IFBC sees Self-Help groups as an integral part of services delivery in the Blue Cross movement. It has proven to be an invaluable resource for recovery and empowerment. As these groups can be facilitated by laypersons, volunteers and/or former addicts and operated on an informal basis, it is a cost effective and sustainable method of providing services to those affected by addiction, and it is proven produce good results. Official service provision is not enough when a person is the process of change. Mutual support is vital, as it is sustainable in the longer-term.
The concept of Self-Help groups are already being implemented by some Blue Cross member organizations (MO’s) around the world, but there are many countries that would greatly benefit from this concept.
The survey of Member Organizations world-wide clearly identified the need to establish Self-Help groups where they do not already exist as a priority. Overall there were some themes/needs that stood out:
1. Increase the number of groups for existing providers
2. Establishing new Self-Help providers and groups
3. Promote recognition of the Self-Help concept in society
Generally speaking, there is a need for greater knowledge transfer between professionals and mutual aid providers. This communication needs to be encouraged to promote Self-Help as an essential part of a person’s change process.
The results of the survey clearly identified specific regional priorities. For example, Africa has a greater need for knowledge and material whereas Europe has a greater need for recognition and acceptance of Self-Help groups by society. All regions share the need for recruiting and motivating volunteers & group leaders.
In an effort to promote the Self-Help concept as a global priority for the Blue Cross, IFBC plans to support its Member Organizations in addressing these needs through advocacy, training and networking in 2013 and beyond.