A peer is a person who has had a similar experience to another person or people, such as living with diabetes or mental distress, that has had a significant impact on their life. A peer can be in paid or unpaid employment, and use their experience to benefit others in the work they do. In New Zealand, there are several examples of peer support programmes and initiatives, mostly in the area of mental health.
Peer support programmes and examples
Peer support can range from informal peer networks or buddy systems to formal peer support programmes.
In New Zealand, some examples are shown below – you can read more by visiting the websites.
Stanford self-management programmes
The Stanford programme is based on more than 25 years of research and is used in more than 25 countries around the world. Whatever health issues you have, this 6-week course can help as you learn a range of generic skills and tips to maximise your health and wellbeing.
Peer support training providers
There are numerous organisations providing peer training, mentoring and supervision, such as ComCare Trust, Community Support Services ITO Limited, Mind and Body Consultants and more.
Tamaki NGO peer support programme
East Tamaki Healthcare conducts self-management education courses for various conditions such as asthma, diabetes, lung disease, high blood pressure and more. Participants meet for 2.5 hours per week for 6 weeks. Programmes are held in community centres, marae, churches, libraries and hospitals.
Hora Te Pai exercise and wellness programme
Robyn is a community health worker at Hora Te Pai Health Services, based at Paraparaumu on the Kapiti Coast, north of Wellington. Robyn describes the Hora Te Pai Exercise and Wellness Programme, which has become a popular programme for the local community.