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Establish a peer group

In a peer support group, people are able to talk with other people who are like themselves — people who truly understand what they're going through and can share the type of practical insights that can only come from first-hand experience.

There are formal and informal peer or support groups. One of the basic premises is that members of the group share common problems and experiences associated with a particular problem, condition, illness, or personal circumstance.

Formal peer support group

A formal peer group maybe aligned to a national organisation or local community group or they can be newly established. Some SMA programmes use patient peer groups in between clinical SMAs to keep the group active and motivated.

Informal peer
support group

Informal groups can be as easy to set up as a closed Facebook page, WhatsApp group or coffee catch up. These often occur spontaneously and are generally small and led by the patients themselves with little oversight or leadership from the practice.

Your first SMA
is complete

We hope this resource has been useful for you. If you need more information or support please contact your local Health Care Home team or contact:

Helen Parker

Dr Glen Davies
Taupo Medical Centre

Things to consider

  • How long will the groups run? Will they have a fixed time frame or be open ended?
  • Will the group be open or closed? How do new members join?
  • Will the group appoint a facilitator or will one be provided from the practice?
  • Where, when and how long will they meet and will there be any charges for venues and refreshments?
  • How will members be selected?
  • What are the group’s guidelines, goals and objectives?
  • Is the group closely aligned to the SMA and its goals and objective?
  • How does the group measure progress?
  • What are the group’s processes for raising issues or concerns?