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People Helping People: Peer support that changes lives

This report explores how peer support can help people focus on their assets and abilities, rejecting the standard illness model in favour of a focus on self-efficacy and hope.

This report explores how peer support can help people focus on their assets and abilities, rejecting the standard illness model in favour of a focus on self-efficacy and hope.

Key Findings

This report brings together our practical learning and evidence on four models of peer support:

  • Activity-based peer support where people learn new skills or share practical experiences in ways that create a context for mutual support between people with similar problems
  • One-to-one support that is dedicated help offered on the phone and/or face to face by someone who has experienced similar circumstances, often sharing the same long-term condition
  • Befriending through an informal but intentional relationship that may or may not centre around similar experiences, often to support a transition from one stage of recovery to another
  • Locality-based peer support organised around a community hub or neighbourhood and focused on building strong, supportive and sustainable social connections

We know that people helping people is fundamental to the success of a People Powered Health approach and is a way of bringing the social into the medical.  Peer support is a well-tested part of social care, mental health and physical health. At an everyday level, it forms the basic structures of our families, friendships and communities, which practitioners and providers have long understood to be important to health and wellbeing.

This approach shifts the focus onto the people and relationships involved in each health and care interaction, and away from institutions, services and processes. It opens up new possibilities for people to take control of their own health, gaining confidence and self-respect through supporting others, improving health outcomes and building stronger social connections through friendships and mutual support.

Although not a new concept, peer support is neither systematised nor used at scale in the current healthcare system. This report looks at examples of how others have integrated peer support into routine care, what makes peer support work, and how it can be placed at the centre of a new health service that has people at its heart.

This video looks at the value of integrating peer support into routine care.

 

Authors
Julie Temperley with Peter Baeck, Martha Hampson and Katharine Langford. Series Editor Julie Temperley

Authors

Peter Baeck

Peter Baeck

Peter Baeck

Head of Collaborative Economy Research

Peter focuses on the collaborative economy, crowdfunding, P2P lending and the role of digital technolgies in public and social innovation. Peter lead much of Nesta's research into cr...

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