New guidance to support organisations to deliver peer support for people with long term conditions

Release Date: 27 September 2012

Source: Mental Health Foundation

Country: United Kingdom

Organisations delivering or planning to deliver peer support for people with long term conditions will be able to find out more about its benefits and good practice thanks to a new guidance by the Mental Health Foundation Peer Support in Long Term Conditions: the Basics.

The guidance was generated following a research project undertaken from 2010 to 2011. The research found that peer support activity for people with long term conditions across Scotland had a positive impact on people’s emotional and physical health but that access to such services was inconsistent. Support services also reported some challenges to integrate with statutory services and felt they often lacked credibility in the eyes of potential referrers including clinicians and beneficiaries.

As a result, The Mental Health Foundation developed a guidance providing a starting point for such organisations which is accessible to a wide audience and applicable to all long term conditions.

The guidance covers the following topics:

• Background information about what peer support is and its benefits
• Who benefits most from peer support
• The matching process
• Formalising peer support
• Roles and functions
• Confidentiality
• Clarifying boundaries
• Support and supervision
• Training
• Partnership working
• Sustaining peer support services
• Evaluation and monitoring

Amy Woodhouse, Project Officer, says:

“There is increasing evidence that demonstrates the benefits of peer support for people with long term conditions. There is a need to help more people access these highly valuable services but also to enhance the quality and impact of existing peer support throughout Scotland.

We hope that this guidance will contribute to supporting NHS and voluntary sector organisations to work in partnership to develop services to address these needs.”

The guidance is launched today at the Peer Support for Long Term Conditions Networking event in Glasgow, where delegates from around 40 different organisations are coming together to share good practice, knowledge and expertise.

The briefing is available to download.