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Peer Support Groups


Research shows that peer-to-peer support complements clinical care for people who experience mental illness challenges or substance use issues. Peer-to-peer support means individuals who have a lived experience dealing with mental health or substance use support others who are currently dealing with these challenges. 

It's essential to note that peer support and clinical practice typically perform reasonably equally on traditional outcome measures like re-hospitalization and relapse. However, peer support scores better in areas related to the recovery process.1 In particular, peer support tends to offer greater self‐efficacy, empowerment, and engagement.2 This supports that peer-to-peer help is an essential part of the recovery process. 

Talking to others who have a similar experience allows individuals to share their personal stories in a safe, nonjudgmental, and comfortable environment and forms a sense of belonging. The mutual sharing of stories in coping with the everyday challenges of living with a mental illness is an essential aspect of the peer-to-peer community.

Peer-to-peer groups also help decrease the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. Some professionals may fail to understand what a person is going through. However, peers understand and can speak from a place of empathy and shared experience. This approach reduces the feeling of being alone and provides an example of working through a crisis. In addition, peers can provide information for individuals on how to help themselves heal. Peer-to-peer support is about personal empowerment.  

In today's world, where individuals are plagued by aloneness, peer-to-peer support is vital to providing people with mental health support. When a counseling service ends, or when the person doesn't have money to continue therapy, or when it is the middle of the night, peers are there to help others.