There are many benefits to peer support groups. They can empower people to work to solve their own challenges, help people feel less alone and more understood and people can share information and keep one another up to date on news that is of interest to them.
For these reasons and more, we have created some guidance on the following pages to support you to set up and maintain a peer support group.
One of the biggest challenges when setting up a peer support group can be getting referrals and raising people’s awareness of peer support groups. Therefore, we recommend the following approaches:
When thinking about potential numbers for your peer support group, we recommend being mindful of the following:
Whether your group is online or face to face, it can be daunting for people to come to a group where they don’t know anyone. Here are some tips to provide a warm welcome:
It’s easy to imagine why people would want to make sure their groups are filled with content (activities, speakers, scripts etc.). It can be quite overwhelming to think your group might become silent and boring for people. However, we think less is more and often find a lot of value in providing plenty of space for discussions. By being mindful of the following, we hope that your peer support group will run smoothly and result in lots of meaningful conversations:
Providing a consistent time, day and space for your group will create regularity for the people who attend. We also recommend the following:
Occasionally, but inevitably, difficult situations might arise during your peer support groups. Try to remain calm and be confident that you have the ability to help and de-escalate any distressing experiences. The following tips might also prove useful in such circumstances too: