All too often men with depression tend to isolate themselves because they don’t want to feel like they are a burden on others, and they think people will think worse of them if they open up about their feelings. Building better relationships, and improving current relationships will help reduce isolation and building social support are important in preventing depression.
Peer Support is based on sharing experiences and agreeing a reason for meeting. Peer support can improve an individual’s emotional health, wellbeing and sense of belonging.
A vital part of peer support is mutual respect; peer support aims to help both those giving and receiving support. Everyone's experiences are treated as equally important, so this can give a different experience to more traditional support options.
Talking to people who have been through similar challenges can:
- help you to talk about feelings and experiences
- help share suggestions for coping techniques and support options
- introduce new ideas and approaches that have been helpful to others
- reassurance that you're not the only person who has felt like this
- improve your self esteem and confidence. It will help you realise how common depression is and how people experiencing depression deserve support
- provide a sense of belonging to a community of people with similar experiences
- give a safety net to turn to at difficult times
- help to find support that's right
Research has shown that peer-run self-help groups yield improvement in psychiatric symptoms resulting in decreased hospitalisation, larger social support networks and enhanced self-esteem and social functioning.