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Peer support

What is peer support?

Peer support involves providing support or services to people with mental health problems by other people who have experienced mental health problems. Peer support may promote confidence and hope through sharing experiences and modelling recovery and coping strategies. The potential for recipients of peer support to provide reciprocal support may also be empowering and of therapeutic value.

What is the evidence for peer support?

With unidirectional peer support, moderate to low quality evidence suggests a small effect of improved recovery and hope at the end of treatment and at follow-up, and improved depression and anxiety, quality of life, and empowerment at follow-up only. No differences were reported between unidirectional peer support and standard care in psychotic symptoms, hospitalisation or satisfaction with services. With bidirectional mutual support, moderate to low quality evidence suggests a medium-sized effect of improved depression and anxiety, and a large effect of improved quality of life and empowerment at the end of treatment. No differences were reported between bidirectional peer support and standard care in recovery or hospitalisation rates. Moderate to low quality evidence suggests a medium-sized effect of less satisfaction with services with peer delivered services compared to standard delivery.

 

June 2016

Page last updated: 3:18  31 August 2017

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