Explains what peer support is, what types there are, how it can help you and how to access it.
Peer support is when people use their own experiences to help each other. There are different types of peer support, but they all aim to:
"The support was mutual. When I was going through a low patch, I often received reassurance and kind words."
In peer support everyone's views and experiences are equally valued, rather than anyone being seen as more of an expert than others. How much support you give and receive can vary depending on what feels right for you at different times.
Watch these three groups talk about how peer support has helped them.
Many groups, organisations and individuals offer different types of peer support. These differences may include:
You can find out more about the different types of peer support on our page about finding peer support.
"It's not always about getting or giving advice. It's also about having a safe space to get things off our chest and occasionally sharing a laugh about it all!"
"Things I was ashamed of and felt guilt for were common in the group. It was a profound and powerful experience."
Peer support can be helpful on its own, or it can be something you try alongside treatments like talking therapies or medication. It can also be a helpful way of getting support if you're on a waiting list for one of these treatments.
For some people, it can be difficult to decide whether to try peer support, or which type of support to try out. If you are struggling with this decision, our information on whether peer support is right for you might help.
This information was published in July 2019. We will revise it in 2022.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.