Use of social media by self-help and mutual aid groups
Keywords:<i>self-help groups</i>, <i>mutual aid groups</i>, <i>social media</i>, <i>peer support</i>, <i>online groups</i>, <i>groupwork</i>, <i>group work</i>
This paper explores the use of social media by self-help/mutual aid groups that meet on a regular face-to-face basis. It draws on data from the ESTEEM project, which ran from 2010 to 2013 with the overall aim of developing a range of resources for health and social care practitioners on how to support self-help/mutual aid groups. A re-examination of the interviews and discussions that were undertaken with 21 groups in two UK sites indicated that groups’ use of social media was becoming an increasingly important resource. The findings highlight a range of benefits and limitations with selfhelp/mutual aid groups using social media and suggest a blurring of boundaries between online and face-to-face groups. For groupworkers involved with self-help/mutual aid groups opportunities in developing groups’ online presence are raised.