Peer support

Explains what peer support is, what types there are, how it can help you and how to access it.

Your stories

Joining a support group

Jim blogs about joining his local support group.

Posted on 28/09/2016

Finding a place to fit in

Sue blogs about finding a place to fit in at her local peer support group.

Posted on 28/09/2016

What is peer support?

Peer support is when people use their own experiences to help each other. Forms of peer support include:

  • community groups    
  • mentoring    
  • befriending    
  • self-help groups    
  • online communities    
  • support groups    

Support is based on sharing experiences and agreeing a reason for meeting. How you choose to meet up or connect with people is very flexible and depends on your personal preferences. Peer support can improve your emotional health, wellbeing and sense of belonging.

A vital part of peer support is mutual respect; peer support aims to help both those giving and receiving support. Everyone's experiences are treated as equally important, so you might find this gives you a different experience to more traditional support options.

Talking to people who have been through similar challenges may:

  • help you to talk about what you are feeling and experiencing
  • help you share suggestions for coping techniques and support options
  • introduce you to ideas and approaches that have been helpful to others
  • reassure you that you're not the only person who has felt like this
  • increase your self esteem and confidence over time help you see how common mental health problems are, and that everyone experiencing them deserves support
  • provide a sense of belonging to a community of people with similar experiences
  • give you a safety net to turn to at difficult times or if you’re at risk of crisis
  • help you to find support that's right for you
  • help you feel more empowered about your own wellbeing, if you feel disillusioned with the support you've received so far

The support was mutual. When I was going through a low patch, I often received reassurance and kind words.


This information was published in June 2016. We will revise it in 2019.


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