"Surround yourself with people who lift you higher"
Peer-to-peer approach in action
Getting to know people who have gone through similar experiences as yourself is crucial in overcoming the difficulties you have to deal with. From the beginning, the common thread in Grófin's work has been a peer-to-peer approach and improvement on a peer-to-peer basis. This means that users have the opportunity to lead groups and contribute to keeping the organization going, but also to learn from each other and share experiences. The peer-to-peer approach is based on mutual respect and community, and is useful for individuals dealing with mental challenges. Here, professionals as well as users work together and their experiences are valued equally.
Why peer-to-peer approach?
Peer-led and support groups often have equal results in studies compared to professional services when it comes to readmission to psychiatric wards as well as relapses, but the former group has better results regarding the recovery process as a whole (Bellamy, Schmutte and Davidson, 2017). Peer-based groups also promote better sustainability, empowerment, and daily activity (Farkas and Boevink, 2018). Research has also shown that peer-to-peer support groups have the potential to care for individuals with severe mental illness and give them an improved quality of life and greater hope (Fuhr, Salisbury, & De Silva et al., 2014). Dr. Daniel Susman (2015) points out that there are many benefits to support groups including learning to express their feelings better, improving social skills, less discomfort, better self-awareness, and realizing that the individual is not alone and does not have to go through the recovery process alone. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) states that peer support is an essential part of recovery-oriented mental health services and has issued a formal statement that the association supports peer-to-peer counseling wholeheartedly (APA, 2018). Research indicates that in some cases peer support can equate to professional help (Fuhr, Salisbury and De Silva et al., 2014) but one aspect it has ahead of professional services is adaptability, as the group develops in line with its members (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2009).
Bellamy, C., Schmutte, T., Davidson, L., 2017. An update on the growing evidence base for peer support. Mental Health and Social Inclusion 21(3):161-167.
Farkas M., Boevink W., 2018. Peer delivered services in mental health care in 2018: infancy or adolescence? World Psychiatry 17(2):222-224.
Fuhr, D.C., Salisbury, T.T., De Silva M. o.fl., 2014. Effectiveness of peer-delivered interventions for severe mental illness and depression on clinical and psychosocial outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Soc Psychiatry Epidemiol 49:1 691-1702. DOI: 10.1007/s00127-014-0857-5.
Susman, D. (2015). 9 benefits of support groups. Sótt af http://davidsusman.com/2015/04/23/9-benefits-of-support-groups/
The American Psychiatric Association, 2018. Position Statement on Peer Support Services. Sótt af https://www.psychiatry.org/File%20Library/About-APA/Organization-Documents-Policies/Policies/Position-2018-Peer-Support-Services.pdf.