Self-Help Groups in COPD: You are not alone.

Surely you have heard this sentence many times already in different contexts: “Humans are social beings.” That does not only mean that we like to have a chat with friends once in a while- the aspects of social behavior are far more complex and the effects of it are as crucial as its complexity. Social behavior plays an important role for our health and survival. For instance Oxytocin which is released in response to social interactions, plays a role in forming bonds between mates. Likewise, inhaling oxytocin has been shown to increase trust in others in humans. So while even the social interaction itself and the feeling of it is proven to have an outcome on a neurobiological level, why not make use of this in the healthcare context? Well, this has been already thought of, and such a concept is already existent: namely the self- help groups.
Self-help groups are self-organized communities of people with similar issues or concerns who come together to act, again, together. The estimated number of such groups in Germany are around 70,000 to 100,000. From chronic illnesses like COPD, life crises and social difficulties, self- help groups are aiming to address a variety of problems. Providing a platform for information exchange, practical life assistance, and emotional support, self- help groups are depicting a way to live with the inevitable burden of the disease in line with something coded in the DNA of the humans: socializing.
The concept of self-help groups can be traced back to the 19th-century emancipation movements, evolving significantly after the societal changes of the 1960s. Germany's healthcare system backs self-help groups nationally, regionally, and locally, with equal importance on all levels, enabling these groups to gain acceptance as a valuable complementary asset to professional healthcare.
There is more to the self-help- systems in Germany: Self-help organizations, often organized at the regional or national level, are associations of multiple self-help groups. They play a role in important health-related decisions and receive financial support from health insurance, pension funds, and donations. Self-help contact points are local or regional professional advisory services that support the establishment and ongoing activities of self-help groups. These contact points play a crucial role in connecting individuals with existing groups and facilitating new group formations.
Approaching 2024, where almost everything can be conducted on an online base, online self-help is becoming increasingly popular as well. This enables individuals to seek support through internet forums, mailing lists,direct messaging and chat groups. Even the National Contact and Information Point (NAKOS) has been actively involved in exploring and promoting online self-help initiatives, with the establishment of platforms like "" to facilitate virtual self-help groups.
In conclusion, self-help groups in Germany play a significant role in addressing a range of personal and health-related challenges, with the support of both the healthcare system and various organizational structures. Germany supports self-help groups transparently, stressing independence and effectiveness. Other than that, online self-help is emerging as a complementary avenue for individuals seeking support and information.
Having stressed the importance and benefits of self-help groups for chronic diseases like COPD, we would now like to provide you with a list of COPD self-help groups in Germany. In addition to those groups, you always have a professional to ask questions on COPD with the Breathment Therapy App. Book an appointment with us now to experience how we aim to enhance your life with COPD and ease your symptoms.