Peer support is a kind of support or assistance that people with poor mental health receives to perform better. This support can be in the type of friendship, advocacy, or counseling. Peer support can be emotional, practical, or social, but most importantly, this support is offered mutually.
Peer support is built upon empathy and shared personal experiences. The key element of peer support is that it does not focus on weakness; rather, it focuses upon the individual’s strength and works for the recovery and wellbeing of a person having poor mental health.
Peer support benefits not only those who receive peer support, but also benefits peer support workers, and for the whole mental health system. The key benefit of peer support is the respect and empathy that supporters show toward people they support.
Peer support also benefits the peer support workers, including the increased level of confidence, self-esteem, and positive energy they get while doing something good. Another important benefit for peer support workers is that it increases the ability to cope with their mental health.
Who should receive peer support?
Many mental health conditions can be treated through peer support. People who are suffering from alcohol addiction, anxiety, depression, psychosis, dementia, or drug addiction can receive peer support in the form of regular meetings. Peer support is a way to hear the unheard voices causing certain mental health conditions.
Peer support is focused upon the recovery of the person. There are not many resources or clinics to see and treat everyone with mental health; therefore, peer support is one way to treat them all.
Peer Support Types
In peer mentoring, people received certain pieces of training and then included in new groups of people to act as their guide or friend in the new environment such as hospitals, colleges, schools, or universities. A peer mentor role is to listen, give solutions to problems, and act as a mediator.
The job of the person who receives peer listening training is to hear voices or give listening service to people who have a problem in communication. A peer listener receives training in active listening, problem-solving, verbal, or non-verbal communication.
The role of a peer mediator is to resolve conflicts. Peer mediators get special training in polishing their skills of conflict resolution. A peer mediator helps people to solve their disputes in every situation type.
In peer tutoring, a peer with the same age will support the person who is having difficulty in social or academic learning.
Peer Education involves educating peers on some specific topics like coping with delusions, addictions, depression, or anxiety. Peers with the same background and age will deliver the material to people dealing with such mental health problems.
Peer support and advocacy can decrease the admission of mental health cases in the hospital by reducing the usage of hospital’s scarce resources and distress among patients. More and more peer support programs should be introduced for the betterment of society.