Figuring out how and when peer support can be utilized is an important part of building a holistic wellness strategy that can help improve your life.
But what are some benefits of peer support? In what stages of your journey through life is it something to try?
It can help determine if you need, well, help
Change or treatment begins with accepting there is a problem that’s become too difficult to handle by yourself.
That process alone can be long and circuitous, often manifesting in worsening symptoms which can result in difficulty completing daily tasks and even self-medicating as a means of coping.
Peer support provides a caring space to discover if you need help. Listening to people discuss shared topics of concern can open new doors of possibility, giving you the inspiration and opportunity to take that all-important first step toward getting help.
Being able to openly share a difficult experience with people who have lived with and survived similar circumstances offers a unique combination of hope, strength and community.
It’s also far from a rigid obligation, and while the benefits of peer support are clear, there’s plenty of flexibility for individuals.
These aren’t strict clinical programs. You opt-in at your pace, at your comfort level, and with the amount of commitment you’re ready for.
You’re Not Alone
Recognizing a problem and deciding to address it can be aided by a peer who clearly sees an issue and can provide much needed motivation to seek help.
Mental health and support through the lens of a clinician is observation and treatment, not participation. Your peers are in this with you. That level of support has measurable effects. Research shows that peer support can lead to fewer hospital stays, larger support networks, and better self-esteem, confidence, and social skills.
It Makes Other Treatment More Effective
Committing to and following through on a treatment plan can hinge directly on the support available. Being able to talk freely about your experience, gaining insight from the wisdom of others, and having an emotional connection to a larger community of patients and survivors can strengthen the resolve of a person who otherwise may feel isolated.
If you are already working with a therapist or doctor or other mental health professional, peer support can be a powerful complement to your existing treatment plan.
It is Proven to Help in Recovery
Studies have shown peer support groups increase self-efficacy in those with chronic illness. For example, diabetes sufferers became better, more knowledgeable managers of their disease after participating in peer support groups.
Stroke survivors placed in peer support networks and reintegrated into their communities reported more personal growth and enjoyment in their lives.
A separate study determined cancer survivors similarly showed improved quality of life when connected with peer support.
It Empowers You To Be Better
ShareWell wants to unlock all of these benefits for all of our peers. No matter who you are or at what stage of life you find yourself, peer support presents a path to recovery and help. There’s never a better time than now to give it a shot.