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Peer Supporters’ Network



Hear Ed Fisher talk about our Peer Supporters Network:

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Evaluating peer support. Literature review


What is Chronic Illness Peer Support?

Chronic illness peer support occurs when people who are living with a long-term illness get together and share stories and experiences, and give each other empathetic, emotional and practical help.

The word ‘peer’ — which means ‘one of equals’ — is important. It differentiates this type of support from other rehabilitation services provided by professional health-based organisations. Peers are not health professionals or medical experts. They are volunteers who have been diagnosed with the same or a similar illness, and who are willing to share their time and experiences to offer hope, encouragement and a positive role model to others, especially the newly diagnosed.

Peer support programs usually cater for people with the illness, but not always. Some programs include family and friends, while others are designed specifically for family and close friends, as in the case of carer support groups and programs.


Watch Dr Michaela Riddell’s presentation to the Peer Support Network on her peer support research

What is the Chronic Illness Peer Support Network?

The Chronic Illness Peer Support Network was formed in 2008 by the Chronic Illness Alliance. Its members are health-based organisations who offer peer support programs to their clients and members. Go to the ‘Members’ Directory‘ for a listing of the Network’s members, including links to their websites.

The Network provides a forum for members to support each other, to share current ideas and knowledge, and to explore new ideas and knowledge.

The Network is managed by a Leadership Group. For more information about this group click here.

The Network’s long-term goal is to build the capacity of members and the chronic illness sector in general, to improve existing peer support programs, and to provide new services and initiatives wherever people living with chronic illness need them.

How to get the best from using this resource.

Peer support leader

  • Explore our ‘Best Practice Framework‘, which covers all aspects of managing a chronic illness peer support program from getting started through to program evaluation.
  • Check out our ‘Further Resources’ page, which has links to other peer support websites around the world.

In the future, we will also provide relevant research findings and other evidence-based information to help you keep up with current best practice.

Peer support participant

A support group brings you in touch with a variety of people who are all dealing with the same situation. The benefit comes from observing how different people manage their lives around whatever the disability or condition is. At a support group there’s often a lot of information exchange – helpful hints and tips on how to manage, what remedies work, where there’s a good supply of product/help/support or whatever that may be useful. As well, with a good, chatty meeting when people are talking about things other than their particular ailment and just sharing a social experience, it can also benefit: it reminds members that they are people first, not solely defined by their disability or condition.

 ~ Rosslyn, peer volunteer leader