Struggling to Cope? An Online “Mental Health Peer” Can Lend Support

September 07, 2018

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

NBC News

Some people with mental health issues are turning to peers for support. Mental health peers provide interpersonal support and coping tips based on their own experiences recovering from mental illness or addiction. The resources they offer serve as a complement to—not a replacement for—mental health treatment. Since peers may have navigated similar challenges, they can lend empathy and insights that friends and family members may not be able to provide. To find a mental health peer, experts recommend searching for support groups related to your mental health concern. In some cases, these groups might be easiest to find online. They also suggest choosing a mental health peer carefully, and setting clear boundaries and expectations. “With a mental health peer, you can finally feel like you have a partner joining you, on a difficult journey to recovery and managing your mental health,” said Seneca Williams, a licensed mental health counselor. “It is a mutually beneficial partnership with someone who understands your language and wants to grow with you.”