People helping people: peer support that changes lives

People helping people: peer support that changes lives

Author: NESTA

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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 brings together 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

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