The German Vitiligo Society for Self-Help Support
Whoever is unwilling to help himself can be helped by no one
The society’s objectives are:
To reach these goals, society is especially committed to:
Achievements in Vitiligo Self-Help Support Groups
Vitiligo hits you by surprise, practically from one day to the next. At first, a few small white patches appear that often start to spread. Anxiously one seeks the doctor’s help – just to find out that they hardly receive any information or help at all. One is likely to be sent back home with the alarming news that one is affected by a chronic disease for which there is no treatment. One is left alone with one’s anxieties, and clueless about the possible progression and impact of this disease in everyday life. Usually, the diagnosis is clear: it is called Vitiligo (or leucoderma)!
Questions arise – what can I do? Where do I obtain information? Who can I talk to? Who understands me?
The answer to these questions is the self-help support groups!
Today, self-help support groups are an important basis in German public health care service. This (voluntarily organized) self-help service comprises an estimated number of approx. 100,000 support groups with four Million members, two-thirds of which find help in health-orientated self-help groups. Chronically sick or handicapped people find personal assistance to cope with the resulting limitations of their disease in everyday life.
This voluntary support is carried out by people who are also affected by vitiligo, or by relatives, partners, and/or by others who like to support a meaningful task.
Self-help groups and self-help societies are often organized as official honorary societies for which the German health care system grants a large sum to finance their work.
In addition to the local groups, self-help societies represent the interests of their members and groups on a national basis, i.e. rendering prevention work, supporting scientific research, and supporting people to help themselves.
The German “Deutscher Vitiligo-Bund e.V.” is such a self-help society and is focussed on actively helping others affected by vitiligo.
Public opinion often says that “diseases cannot be healed just by talking about the” – this is only a superficial approach. Therefore, it is important to emphasize how “experienced self-help competence” complements the “educated competence” of doctors and therapists. Only people who are affected can judge just how it feels like when looking for advice.