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Article   |    
A Self-Help Program for Widows as an Independent Community Service
Joy Rogers; Mary L. S. Vachon; W. Alan Lyall; Adrienne Sheldon; Stanley J. J. Freeman
Psychiatric Services 1980; doi:
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Social and Community Psychiatry Section, Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, Toronto, Ontario

American Psychiatric Association

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Community Contacts for the Widowed, a self-help group in Toronto, offers individual and group counseling and volunteer work to widows. Beginning as a demonstration project funded by the provincial health ministry, the program became an independent charitable organization in 1976. Like many new self-help groups, the program employs peers who receive training in helping their clients by establishing a one-to-one supportive relationship. These peers, called widow contacts, also arrange group sessions and conduct community education on behalf of the program. Although reliance on a self-referral process limits the number of lower-class, immigrant, and other widows unwilling to reach out for help, since 1976 the program has helped more than 1500 women through their bereavement.

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