Why peer-to-peer support?

Peer support is a system of giving and receiving
help founded on key principles of respect, shared
responsibility, and mutual agreement of what is
helpful. Peer support is not based on psychiatric
models and diagnostic criteria. It is about
understanding another’s situation empathically
through the shared experience of emotional and
psychological pain.
— Shery Mead, 2003

The mutuality and reciprocity that occurs through peer support, builds social capital, which in turn is associated with well-being and resilience (McKenzie, 2006). If we have opportunities to support each other; we are building our capacity as a community. Social capital can be characterised as the skills, networks and resources that support individuals to be connected to their communities.


• members share a similar condition or life situation
• members come together to exchange information and strategies to address their problem
• sharing experiences enables the group to provide a unique quality of mutual support
• groups are run for and by their members.


Peer support offers many health and quality of life benefits. Both peer support workers and the service users they are supporting feel empowered in their own recovery journey, have greater confidence and self-esteem and a more positive sense of identity, they feel less self stigmatisation, have more skills and feel more valued.
— Repper, 2013

The role and value of peer support

We know from other research (including Basset et al, 2010; Repper and Carter, 2010) that it offers many benefits, for example:

  • shared identity/acceptance,
  • increased self-confidence
  • the value of helping others
  • developing and sharing skills
  • improved mental health
  • emotional resilience and wellbeing
  • information and signposting
  • challenging stigma and discrimination.
Because now I know that with the press of a
button, I can be with people who feel exactly the
same. We help and support each other. We get
each other through till the morning, and it’s
wonderful. No pretence, no fake smiles – just
honesty and support. It’s the most freeing
experience I have ever had.
— Mind Elefriends member, online




Question: What is depression?


Answer: The main symptoms of depression include feeling low in mood and loosing interest in things that are normally enjoyable. You may also experience some of the things below:


Body Signs

Exhausted with no energy
Changes in your sleep
Changes in your appetite
Unable to relax


Sad and Upset
Not enjoying anything
Anxious or panicky
Irritable and angry or resentful


Putting things off
Avoiding people and not going out
Getting into arguments more easily
Not doing everyday tasks, or trying to do too much


Poor concentration
Hard to make decisions
Confused or cluttered thoughts
Self-critical thoughts
Worrying a lot
Thoughts of self-harm


Some of the symptoms in the boxes are related to anxiety e.g feeling panicky, trying to do too much, worrying a lot. Depression and anxiety often go together.

Research suggests that some degree of depression is experienced by more than one in ten women during pregnancy, so if you recognise these symptoms, you are certainly not alone!

Question: Why do I feel like this?


Answer: Anyone going through the major life change of having a baby can become depressed. This is true whether it's your first baby or if you already have children. The way we see ourselves and the way others see us can change during this time. The body also foes through some enormous physical change during pregnancy.

Question: What else can I do that is helpful?


Answer: One of the keys things we know about depression in women who are having a baby is the importance of having someone to talk to about all the changes that are taking place. Who do you know that is a good listener and could support you through this time? If you feel like you still can't think of anyone, reach out to #ourpillar community, who are here to help.