Putting peer support into practice starts with a focus on core functions and also attention to culture and other features of context. Peer support is practical, social, and emotional support from a person who shares similar experiences with a disease or condition. Around the world, different cultures and contexts influence health behaviors like diet, how we feel about diseases and health, and even how we give and receive support from others. So, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to peer support around the world. Yet, amidst such variations, a core set of functions can outline peer support around the world:
- Assistance in daily living
- Social and emotional support
- Linkages to clinical care and community resources
- Ongoing support
Addressing these core functions can take on many forms. For example, peer support may involve home visits, use of mobile phone technologies, group activities, and integration with health care teams. So, peer support’s core functions, while providing a general outline, can facilitate the kind of flexibility needed to tailor local programs to local and regional needs, populations, health systems, and cultures.
Putting a peer support program into action involves a variety of key components including training, management and evaluation activities. Additionally, starting peer support programs may require substantial adaptation to existing programs.
In this section you will find information on these topics and a wide variety of resources for designing, enhancing and refining peer support programs. Check out the tabs below for topics that interest you.