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By Kat McIntosh, Manager of Global Peer Support at Mental Health America

With over 100 years working on advocacy and awareness, Mental Health America (MHA) understands the unique needs of those facing mental health challenges. We believe that peer support is essential when building thriving communities[1] -- no one should have to struggle alone. This is why we created our Peer Partners program.

MHA’s Peer Partners program is an excellent way to help people make friends and meet their social goals. We designed our program to help equip peers with the tools needed to support others in meeting their social goals using support groups. Our free, easy-to-implement program combines the strengths of peer support, psychiatric rehabilitation, and self-directed care. An added benefit of our program is that mental health organizations can increase the availability of peer support within their community.

At the end of our pilot, we saw tremendous increases in how participants rated their quality of life.

Relationship and Connection

  • 61% of participants felt like they had more friends and intimate relationships.
  • Participants’ feelings of connection to their support network rose by over 50%.

Community and Environment

  • 4 in 5 participants were better able to meaningfully use their environments.
  • 61% of participants were able to interact with others in their community in different social roles.
  • There was a 72% increase in participants who were able to take part in the life of their community.

Rights, Respect, and Fairness

  • 86% of participants felt that they were better able to exercise their rights.
  • Over 70% of participants reported they felt like they received fairness.
  • At the end of our program, participants reported feeling respected.

Personal Goals

  • Participants became more aware of their ability to set personal goals.
  • They realized how many goals, in the past, were set for them.

Access our Peer Partners program here.