Peer support for people with long term conditions: guidance from the Mental Health Foundation


This brief new guidance will be of interest if you are involved in delivering or planning peer support for people with long term conditions.

It’s the result of a research project carried out in Scotland during 2010-11, which reported that:

Peer support activity for people with long term conditions across Scotland had a positive impact on people’s emotional and physical health but access to such services is inconsistent.

The four models of peer support in long term conditions are:

  1. Befriending/buddying
  2. Peer mentoring
  3. Facilitated peer support
  4. Peer led support groups

This guidance covers the basics of developing and improving the quality of peer support services, which are:

  • Background (what is a peer in long term conditions, the benefits of peer support, different models of peer support)
  • Who benefits most from peer support
  • The matching process
  • Formalising peer support
  • Roles and functions
  • Confidentiality
  • Clarifying boundaries
  • Support and supervision
  • Training
  • Partnership working
  • Sustaining peer support services
  • Evaluation and monitoring
The guidance was launched yesterday by Project Manager Amy Woodhouse, at the Peer Support for Long Term Conditions Networking event in Glasgow.


Peer Support in Long Term Conditions: The Basics (PDF). Mental Health Foundation, Sep 2012.

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Andre Tomlin

André Tomlin is an Information Scientist with 20 years experience working in evidence-based healthcare. He's worked in the NHS, for Oxford University and since 2002 as Managing Director of Minervation Ltd, a consultancy company who do clever digital stuff for charities, universities and the public sector. Most recently André has been the driving force behind the Mental Elf and the National Elf Service; an innovative digital platform that helps professionals keep up to date with simple, clear and engaging summaries of evidence-based research. André is a Trustee at the Centre for Mental Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London Division of Psychiatry. He lives in Bristol, surrounded by dogs, elflings and lots of woodland!

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