What is Chronic Illness Peer Support?
Peer support is when people who are living with the same or similar illnesses share their time and experiences with each other to offer hope, encouragement, self-management strategies and a positive role model.
‘It’s wonderful to meet other families that are dealing with the same issues and struggles. There are more people out there that are like us..it breaks [the] isolation.’
The word ‘peer’ is important. It means one of equals. It is different from the vital care provided by doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. It can be especially useful for people who are newly diagnosed and/or coming to terms with a life-long condition.
‘The Peer Support Group gave me the opportunity to meet others facing similar challenges. I learnt that there is no right or wrong way to deal with things, and everyone’s journey is unique.’
Peer support happens in many ways such as face-to-face groups, telephone helplines, online support (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) and even interest-based initiatives (e.g. walking groups).
Peer support is also vital for partners, carers, friends, families or siblings.
What is the Chronic Illness Peer Supporters Network?
The Chronic Illness Peer Supporters Network (previously the Peer Support Network) was started in 2008 by the Chronic Illness Alliance. We are a group of people who work with, are involved in or are interested in peer support. We:
- recognise the value of peer support
- strive for better access to quality peer support in Australia and,
- work towards peer support being a part of standard chronic disease care.
If you have an interest in peer support , join us at our next meeting.
The Network holds several meetings per year when there are items of interest to share, usually in the Melbourne CBD.
Strategic Planning meeting of PSN took place 24 July 2018
We can help if you are:
- living or caring for someone with a long-term health condition
- Looking for a peer support group
- A support group leader or staff working in peer support
- A health professional
- Seeking further resources (e.g. peer leader manuals, research)