Peer to peer adult chat
In collaboration with Housing 21, a social housing provider, we are to run and evaluate facilitated self-help, peer-support groups for people in early stages of dementia and their partners living in extra care and sheltered housing schemes in London.
The aim of the project is to find out if these groups enable people to live independently for longer, improve their quality of life and reduce social isolation.
The group members support each other to set goals and overcome the problems that make achieving those goals more difficult.
Similar initiatives are being developed for people in prisons and single parents (Wales), and young Black men, women, and people in supported housing (England).
In Canada and the USA, Peer Support in its various forms has been a widely recognised and utilised resource that has been developing since the 1960s.
In recent years there has been an increasing emphasis on the value of peer support in the UK.
They help people find solutions to disputes in formal and informal situations.Peer-support programmes have been developed to such an extent that peer supporters, with adequate training, can help their peers with the following issues: A peer supporter who offers a listening service is a person who has been trained in counselling skills that include active listening, verbal and non-verbal communication, confidentiality and problem solving.Peer supporters who have completed certain training may then go on to offer support to their peers on a formal basis.Key elements of Peer Support in mental health include that it is built on shared personal experience and empathy, it focuses on an individual's strengths not weaknesses, and works towards the individual's wellbeing and recovery.Though the language of peer support is relatively new in the UK, in practice self-help groups and mutual support has been around for many years.
The Mental Health Foundation, along with partner organisations, is leading the Delivering Peer Support for Long Term Conditions project to take forward the recommendations from the feasibility study above.