In the midst of all the headlines about the increasing prevalence of depression during the Covid-19 pandemic, I'm here to share some good news with you. There is an affordable, sustainable, and effective solution to the problem of increased rates of depression combined with a lack of mental health care providers: peer support.
Peer: (noun) one that is of equal standing with another; one belonging to the same group
Does Peer Support Help With Depression?
Yes! Peer support has been shown to effectively decrease symptoms and relapses of depression.
In fact, research shows that peer-led interventions score better than psychotherapy for depression recovery!
Some of the benefits of peer support for depression recovery include increased...
Quality of Life.
Peer support has also been shown to increase engagement and reduce disparities in mental health care among Black and Latinx Americans who face systemic racism within, and historical exclusion from, the mental health care system.
What Is Peer Support?
Peer support puts mental health treatment into the hands of the community.
A peer support group is a supportive community of people with shared experience, who are dedicated to giving and receiving support. Peer support groups provide opportunities for inspiration, connection, emotional support, skill-building, and resource-sharing.
A common sign of depression is a tendency to socially withdraw or isolate, which is only compounded by the ongoing pandemic. But, research shows that continued isolation will only make symptoms worse. A peer support group offers a unique opportunity to combat isolation by staying connected to people who actually get it – people who recognize the strength it takes to just show up for yourself and others, especially when you are experiencing depression.
Where Can I Find a Peer Support Group for Depression?
There are different types of peer support groups and it can be helpful to try out a few to see which one is right for you, as depression treatment is not one-size-fits-all.
At the LiveWell Foundation, our free peer support groups emphasize the shared experience of resilience that comes with living with depression. All of our support groups are facilitated by volunteer peers who come from diverse backgrounds, professions, and geographic locations.
In addition to offering peer support and connection, LiveWell groups are uniquely designed to also teach people the skills they need to better manage their own depression treatment and ongoing mental health self-care.
Peer-led interventions that are educational and skill-based have been shown to produce even better outcomes than groups that are just focused on support.
All skill-based groups rotate around the LiveWell Strategies©: ten evidence-based strategies that are proven to help people reduce symptoms and relapses of depression.
Since the onset of Covid-19, the LiveWell Foundation has provided more than 400 online support groups to peers from all over the world.
Check out one of the many LiveWell peer support groups and help us to increase the power of peer support for living well with depression.