Peer support programs have been emerging as standard practice for supporting staff in high risk agencies such as the emergency services, military, and mental health where exposure to potentially traumatic events is high relative to the general population.
Despite the lack of direct evidence relating to peer support programs, there is an emerging body of evidence which shows that boosting and protecting social support can increase an individual’s capacity to deal with a potentially traumatic event. As such, peer support represents one attempt to operationalise social support within organisational structures.
Using a well-established method of enquiry that canvases opinions of experts in a particular field (the Delphi method; Linstone & Turoff, 1975), Phoenix Australia surveyed an international group of experts and peer support practitioners to ascertain consensus on various aspects of peer support. The aim was to achieve consensus on basic issues pertaining to peer support upon which future research can be built. Until an evidence base is developed, these guidelines aim to inform the practice of peer support internationally on the basis of the best available advice from experts and practitioners in the field.
Download the Peer Support Guidelines [PDF].