The New Jersey Self-Help Clearinghouse has been helping people find and form support groups for over 31 years. Plans for the Clearinghouse began in 1980. Armed with a wooden card file box and index cards, the Clearinghouse began to collect information on self-help support groups. This list continued to grow and was printed as a directory in January of 1980. The Self-Help Clearinghouse was funded through a grant from the State Division of Mental Health and operations began in January 1981. The Clearinghouse became a department of Saint Clare’s Health System in 1985.
The Clearinghouse lists over 6,750 support groups all over the state ofNew Jerseyfor just about any type of stressful situation that affects people’s well-being. The Clearinghouse has, over the years, built and continually updates a rather extensive database of support groups. Groups cover a wide range of life-situations such as addictions, bereavement, disabilities, behavioral and physical health, parenting, care giving, and much more.
The Clearinghouse provides free consultation and training services to persons developing no-fee support groups; free training workshops on the development and facilitation of self-help groups, how to deal with difficult people, developing listening skills, and more as well as providing free assistance with the “how to’s” of starting a group.
People attending support groups find others who share similar experiences. They have the chance to collectively share practical information, exchange coping strategies, as well as being part of a community that understands them and their unique circumstances. If you would like information on attending or starting a support group, call the New Jersey Self-Help Group Clearinghouse, Monday – Friday, 8:30am-5pm, at 1-800-367-6274 or 973-326-6789.
“My years as a medical practitioner, as well as my own first-hand experience, have taught me how important self-help groups are in assisting their members in dealing with problems, stress, hardship and pain…Today, the benefits of mutual aid are experienced by millions of people who turn to others with a similar problem to attempt to deal with their isolation, powerlessness, alienation, and the awful feeling that nobody understands.”
- Former U.S. Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, MD