Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Review gives thumbs up to peer support
Peer support programmes for depression involve patients and volunteers supporting each other by talking and sharing information with one another. They have been found to decrease isolation, reduce stress, increase the sharing of health information and provide role models, and, because they rely on volunteers and non-professionals they are also cost effective. Researchers from the University of Michigan Medical School reviewed 10 studies into the effectiveness of peer support carried out between 1987 and 2009. They found that the programmes reduced symptoms of depression better than traditional care alone and were about as effective as cognitive behaviour therapy.