What is Peer Support?
Peer Support recognizes the value of lived experience. Peer Support has a relationship and structural differences from clinical supports and self-help groups.
Is Peer Support something new?
No, it’s been around in a formal sense for individuals in the mental health sector since the 1970s, we are just more familiar with Peer Support for adults with addictions: like Alcoholics Anonymous. Family-based peer support is gaining momentum over the last ten years.
Why Family Peer Support?
Families are facing different life challenges. What they can get from the shared lived experience of their peers is unique.
But isn’t clinical and medical support enough?
Most families are not able to get the support they need, and research shows the value of Family Peer Support. They are more likely to share their thoughts and concerns with people who have gone through similar issues. Connecting with people that understand what they are going through, and have their own lived experiences, creates a safe and non-judgemental space. Working with a Family Peer Support worker encourages new ways of communicating with the individual family member who is struggling and also with the entire family.
But isn’t it just families talking to each other, how can that really help?
Those who provide Peer Support have the training to take ‘just talking’ to a different, and significant, new level. Peer Support is validating and reduces self-stigma, which leads to long-term mental health and well-being.
Families can’t be responsible to fix each other. Isn’t it the job of professionals to help someone with mental health issues?
Peer support isn’t about doing a professional’s job. Peer Supporters aren’t experts, they work with their peers to put them in the driver’s seat in their own lives by listening and supporting, maybe sharing some of their own similar experiences and how they got through it, while their peer moves through life, and choices, at their own pace.