Peer support can be defined as the giving and receiving of non-professional and non-medical advice and support from others who have similar lived experiences to yourself with the aim of enabling long term recovery. It is most widely associated with drug and alcohol use difficulties and many people will be familiar with the existence of Alcoholics Anonymous, which follows a Twelve Step Programme.
Despite being so widely recommended and used, there has been little research into the effectiveness of peer support and what the specific components are within that help. Tracy and Wallace (2016) undertook a literature review and found that peer support groups were beneficial and that they supported engagement in other substance related treatment programmes. They identified that these groups positively impacted on the self-efficacy of those who participated.
You can find out about peer support in your local area by contacting your local NHS Drug and Alcohol Service or searching here.