This year’s celebration will be on Thursday 20th October.
Most of us will have accessed peer support at some time in our lives. It may have been formally via a support group or educational program, or informally such as an ‘over the fence’ chat with somebody who understands our concerns.
The following list of possible benefits and approaches to peer support were selected from a publication by the Department of Human Services, Victoria. (Peer Support – A guide to how people with a disability and carers can help each other to make the most of their disability supports, May 2012).
Although the document focus is on disability, we know that the same impacts and outcomes apply for people receiving peer support who are impacted by gambling harm.
- Peer support can build networks to help people find their way.
- People who have taken a similar journey before may have ideas about shortcuts to take and dead-ends to avoid.
- Peer support can complement formal supports that people receive.
- Peer support can reduce dependency on formal structures and bureaucracy.
- Peer support may give people hope, which can lead to confidence, self-esteem and ultimately autonomy.
- Peer support can help combat feelings of isolation by connecting people in similar situations and building networks.
- Peer support puts a human face to the experience of managing disability supports.
- Peer support enables self-determination and empowerment.
- Peer support can allow volunteers to develop skills and become leaders.
- Peer support can be a melting pot of ideas which can lead to innovative ways of providing support and developing services.
- Peer support can help with the pressure of having a caring role for a family member. Carers can feel like they are not alone and that they have more control, can reduce their stress and help them live as well as they can.
As the final dot point highlights, carers too can benefit from peer support. Very often the carers, or affected other are managing so many different domains of life that they cannot see time to look after themselves, or do not recognize the stress that they are living with daily.
For these reasons and many more, we also acknowledge Carers in October each year.