Catch da Flava Radio - Peer Support

For this episode of Health Talks Radio with host Diamond, we talk about peer support and why it is important and effective for youth to engage in peer support when it comes to mental health. We asked our ​youth panel why it is important to have peer support as opposed to clinical and professional support, the advantages in having someone an equal listening as opposed to someone of authority over youth. Sometimes, given the context of the situation, we are inclined to have peer talks because we want to be able to be listened and heard, we don’t necessarily want or need a solution, which is often the role of a clinical professional. Having a peer to support us when it comes to mental health helps us to just feel normal, that we can talk to someone just like us and be accepted as we are.

We don’t condone peer support as the only method of youth that are facing mental health issues to turn to, but only exploring the topic because it helps us understand that there are multiple ways and avenues in which we can help each other. We joked that sometimes it’s easier to talk to peers because we can ‘cuss’ with each other, giving us permission to be ourselves. Sometimes in a clinical context, we are expected to communicate in a more sterile way, and as a youth patient we may be seen in a ‘sterile’ way, that we compartmentalize our health experiences as if they were a different and unfriendly aspect of ourselves and makes it difficult for us to accept ourselves for all we are.

We’d like to thank our youth panelists for their input and thoughts on peer support: Erika, Judy, and Travis.

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