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Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2019 Jan;62(1):64-72. doi: 10.1007/s00103-018-2847-3.

[Self-help support, self-help groups and self-help friendliness in Switzerland-between subsidiary structure and national development needs].

[Article in German]

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Hochschule Luzern - Soziale Arbeit, Werftestraße 1, 2945, 6002, Luzern, Schweiz.
Careum Forschung, Kalaidos Fachhochschule Zürich, Zürich, Schweiz.
Hochschule Luzern - Soziale Arbeit, Werftestraße 1, 2945, 6002, Luzern, Schweiz.


The Swiss welfare state is marked by strong federalism and subsidiarity, e. g. when it comes to social and health policies. This contribution presents findings of the first national study on self-help in Switzerland.This contribution is based on three sub-projects: 1. an oral and an online survey of the management personnel of the national organization Self-help Switzerland (Selbsthilfe Schweiz) and all regional self-help centers; 2. a quantitative-descriptive evaluation of the Self-help Switzerland's database with over 2500 self-help groups; and 3. twelve semi-structured interviews with experts from the social and health system.Little support is given at the national level to the self-help system. While Self-help Switzerland deals with topics of national importance, promotion of self-help has so far primarily been the domain of the regional self-help centers. This led to large regional differences in the dissemination and the development of self-help groups. There are also regional disparities in the cooperation between self-help groups and centers with the professionals and institutions from the social and health system.Self-help is discussed as characteristic for the federalist and subsidiary culture of the Swiss welfare state. The current self-help landscape is regionally based and locally financed. There is a substantial need for development on the national level: a legal base is required as well as stronger funding for self-help support and initiatives for self-help friendliness.


Self-help friendliness; Self-help groups; Self-help support; Subsidiarity; Switzerland


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