What is peer support?

What is peer support?

What is peer support?

Peer support is simply young people helping young people.

Peer support

Peer support among young people recognises their skills and abilities in helping others to solve problems.21

It involves training and supporting young people to share information with peers, who have similar characteristics, to achieve positive health outcomes.

A peer support relationship is based on respect and in the equality of the participants.

It centres on support and connection being provided by someone who is relatable, and potentially more credible, to the young person as a member of their peer group.

Although there are many different approaches to peer support, they include three common features:

  • young people help and support each other
  • planned and structured support of peer supporters
  • peer supporters are trained to fulfill their role as a peer leader.22

Peer support explainer

Learn: Peer support explainer

Peer support explainer

Peer support approaches

Peer support is an umbrella term to include a range of different approaches.

  • Peer education programs train members in a particular subject so they can pass that information on to other members of the peer group.
  • Peer mentoring programs use a more experienced peer to assist and guide a less experienced peer by sharing their knowledge and experience.
  • Peer tutoring involves individuals from similar social networks assisting each other to learn, and learn themselves, by teaching, usually in one-on-one sessions.
  • Peer leadership initiatives have capable individuals providing guidance for their peer group in various ways, as role model, educator or mentor.23

You may also hear the terms: peer tutoring, peer coaching, peer listening, and befriending and buddying.22

Peer-based approaches are often described using different words. These terms can be used interchangeably and the approaches may overlap.

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