Who Peer Support Helps

Reviewed Apr 26, 2017

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Summary

  • There are different types of peer support groups.
  • Members are all equal and treated with respect.
  • Leaders have been through their own recovery.

We all have our struggles and we all need help from time to time. We are not always likely to ask for it or take it though. Often this is due to our own sense of shame or our fear of being judged. We may be afraid other people will think less of us. Instead of reaching out to others we try to keep it all inside. This only tends to make matters worse. Help is easier to take if it comes from someone who knows what we are going through. This is the unique value of peer support.

Peer support can be as simple as two people talking over coffee. It can also occur in the form of a structured support group. This group may be peer-led or led by a trained group leader. The trained leader should be someone who has been through recovery. Support groups often meet either weekly or monthly. These group meetings are designed to complement, but not replace, other health care.

Common types of peer support groups

A wide range of peer support groups exist to help people cope with common issues. Some of the more recognized groups are:

  • Alcohol and substance use recovery
  • Mental health recovery
  • Cancer, diabetes and other disease support
  • Grief and trauma support
  • Anger and stress management
  • Divorce care
  • Domestic and sexual abuse support
  • Veteran and PTSD support
  • Weight loss and management
  • Trauma care

Core values of peer support groups

Despite the many types of peer support groups, there are certain values common to all. Some of these core values are:

  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Confidentiality
  • Empathy
  • Tolerance
  • Equality
  • Hope
  • Positive feedback
  • Freedom of expression
  • Freedom of choice

The goal of peer support

Peer support is designed to help with more than just coping with issues and symptoms. The goal is to move beyond simple recovery to a state of well-being. This sense of wellness involves all aspects of life. This includes mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.

Peer support is not meant to take the place of regular doctor’s care. Instead, it is a welcomed and useful addition to other forms of care.

Why peer support works

Peer support helps by allowing people with shared life experiences to work toward the shared goal of recovery. Members are all counted as equal and therefore are less likely to feel judged. This means members can feel free to share their struggles as well as their successes. No one is put down because each person has been in similar situations. Even trained leaders will have similar backgrounds and are often seen as mentors and role models. Leaders can also help members get other kinds of help through other contacts and resources.

Peer group members offer each other respect, understanding, and a listening ear. They can also offer practical advice on specific coping skills. For instance, members of an anxiety support group can teach the group stress lessening activities such as yoga and deep breathing. A support group on quitting smoking can discuss experiences with nicotine patches, gum, and e-cigarettes. Other members can then decide whether or not to try such methods for themselves. Mostly though, members share a common burden as well as a shared hope for recovery.

Resource

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NAMI Peer Support Programs
www.nami.org/Find-Support/NAMI-Programs

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: International Association of Peer Supporters, http://inaops.org/definition-peer-specialist/, https://na4ps.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/nationalguidelines1.pdf; National Alliance on Mental Illness, www2.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=About_Treatments_and_Supports&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=143974; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, www.samhsa.gov/recovery/peer-support-social-inclusion and www.promoteacceptance.samhsa.gov/10by10/PDF/Facts_PersonsInRecovery.pdf

Summary

  • There are different types of peer support groups.
  • Members are all equal and treated with respect.
  • Leaders have been through their own recovery.

We all have our struggles and we all need help from time to time. We are not always likely to ask for it or take it though. Often this is due to our own sense of shame or our fear of being judged. We may be afraid other people will think less of us. Instead of reaching out to others we try to keep it all inside. This only tends to make matters worse. Help is easier to take if it comes from someone who knows what we are going through. This is the unique value of peer support.

Peer support can be as simple as two people talking over coffee. It can also occur in the form of a structured support group. This group may be peer-led or led by a trained group leader. The trained leader should be someone who has been through recovery. Support groups often meet either weekly or monthly. These group meetings are designed to complement, but not replace, other health care.

Common types of peer support groups

A wide range of peer support groups exist to help people cope with common issues. Some of the more recognized groups are:

  • Alcohol and substance use recovery
  • Mental health recovery
  • Cancer, diabetes and other disease support
  • Grief and trauma support
  • Anger and stress management
  • Divorce care
  • Domestic and sexual abuse support
  • Veteran and PTSD support
  • Weight loss and management
  • Trauma care

Core values of peer support groups

Despite the many types of peer support groups, there are certain values common to all. Some of these core values are:

  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Confidentiality
  • Empathy
  • Tolerance
  • Equality
  • Hope
  • Positive feedback
  • Freedom of expression
  • Freedom of choice

The goal of peer support

Peer support is designed to help with more than just coping with issues and symptoms. The goal is to move beyond simple recovery to a state of well-being. This sense of wellness involves all aspects of life. This includes mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.

Peer support is not meant to take the place of regular doctor’s care. Instead, it is a welcomed and useful addition to other forms of care.

Why peer support works

Peer support helps by allowing people with shared life experiences to work toward the shared goal of recovery. Members are all counted as equal and therefore are less likely to feel judged. This means members can feel free to share their struggles as well as their successes. No one is put down because each person has been in similar situations. Even trained leaders will have similar backgrounds and are often seen as mentors and role models. Leaders can also help members get other kinds of help through other contacts and resources.

Peer group members offer each other respect, understanding, and a listening ear. They can also offer practical advice on specific coping skills. For instance, members of an anxiety support group can teach the group stress lessening activities such as yoga and deep breathing. A support group on quitting smoking can discuss experiences with nicotine patches, gum, and e-cigarettes. Other members can then decide whether or not to try such methods for themselves. Mostly though, members share a common burden as well as a shared hope for recovery.

Resource

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NAMI Peer Support Programs
www.nami.org/Find-Support/NAMI-Programs

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: International Association of Peer Supporters, http://inaops.org/definition-peer-specialist/, https://na4ps.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/nationalguidelines1.pdf; National Alliance on Mental Illness, www2.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=About_Treatments_and_Supports&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=143974; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, www.samhsa.gov/recovery/peer-support-social-inclusion and www.promoteacceptance.samhsa.gov/10by10/PDF/Facts_PersonsInRecovery.pdf

Summary

  • There are different types of peer support groups.
  • Members are all equal and treated with respect.
  • Leaders have been through their own recovery.

We all have our struggles and we all need help from time to time. We are not always likely to ask for it or take it though. Often this is due to our own sense of shame or our fear of being judged. We may be afraid other people will think less of us. Instead of reaching out to others we try to keep it all inside. This only tends to make matters worse. Help is easier to take if it comes from someone who knows what we are going through. This is the unique value of peer support.

Peer support can be as simple as two people talking over coffee. It can also occur in the form of a structured support group. This group may be peer-led or led by a trained group leader. The trained leader should be someone who has been through recovery. Support groups often meet either weekly or monthly. These group meetings are designed to complement, but not replace, other health care.

Common types of peer support groups

A wide range of peer support groups exist to help people cope with common issues. Some of the more recognized groups are:

  • Alcohol and substance use recovery
  • Mental health recovery
  • Cancer, diabetes and other disease support
  • Grief and trauma support
  • Anger and stress management
  • Divorce care
  • Domestic and sexual abuse support
  • Veteran and PTSD support
  • Weight loss and management
  • Trauma care

Core values of peer support groups

Despite the many types of peer support groups, there are certain values common to all. Some of these core values are:

  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Confidentiality
  • Empathy
  • Tolerance
  • Equality
  • Hope
  • Positive feedback
  • Freedom of expression
  • Freedom of choice

The goal of peer support

Peer support is designed to help with more than just coping with issues and symptoms. The goal is to move beyond simple recovery to a state of well-being. This sense of wellness involves all aspects of life. This includes mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.

Peer support is not meant to take the place of regular doctor’s care. Instead, it is a welcomed and useful addition to other forms of care.

Why peer support works

Peer support helps by allowing people with shared life experiences to work toward the shared goal of recovery. Members are all counted as equal and therefore are less likely to feel judged. This means members can feel free to share their struggles as well as their successes. No one is put down because each person has been in similar situations. Even trained leaders will have similar backgrounds and are often seen as mentors and role models. Leaders can also help members get other kinds of help through other contacts and resources.

Peer group members offer each other respect, understanding, and a listening ear. They can also offer practical advice on specific coping skills. For instance, members of an anxiety support group can teach the group stress lessening activities such as yoga and deep breathing. A support group on quitting smoking can discuss experiences with nicotine patches, gum, and e-cigarettes. Other members can then decide whether or not to try such methods for themselves. Mostly though, members share a common burden as well as a shared hope for recovery.

Resource

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NAMI Peer Support Programs
www.nami.org/Find-Support/NAMI-Programs

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: International Association of Peer Supporters, http://inaops.org/definition-peer-specialist/, https://na4ps.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/nationalguidelines1.pdf; National Alliance on Mental Illness, www2.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=About_Treatments_and_Supports&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=143974; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, www.samhsa.gov/recovery/peer-support-social-inclusion and www.promoteacceptance.samhsa.gov/10by10/PDF/Facts_PersonsInRecovery.pdf

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, assessments, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2019 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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