How can I find peer support?
There are a number of different ways to find and access a type of peer support that suits you. You can often start doing peer support without a referral from a professional, although there are some types of support that will require a referral from a professional.
To find peer support, you could:
- Look at Mind HK’s community directory to see what support is available locally
- Ask your doctor or healthcare team for suggestions
- Try an online peer support community
- Contact an organisation offering peer support services, such as Amity Mutual Support Group, Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service, Richmond Fellowship of Hong Kong or your local Integrated Community Centre for Mental Wellness (ICCMW) or those listed on our useful contacts page
Questions to ask before starting peer support
You might find it helpful to ask someone, such as a group organiser or moderator, these questions about the peer support they offer:
- How is the support structured? For example, if there is a set time to attend a group or meet with someone.
- Can I use the support for as long as I need to? Or is it limited to a set amount of time or number of sessions?
- Who leads or moderates the group? For example, some peer support is facilitated by trained, paid staff who have experience of mental health problems, or by volunteers.
- How many people take part?
- Can I bring someone with me?
- How can I find and access the venue where the support takes place?
- What ground rules or guidelines will I be asked to agree to? For example, you might be asked to take it in turns to talk or not share some types of information.
- What can I do if I have a question, concern or complaint?
Your doctor or health care team might have details of support options in your local area, therefore it’s worth checking with them to find out what’s available to you in your area.
Community and voluntary groups
Many community and third sector (charity) organisations provide peer support, although they’re often not very well known and may not be easy to find.
These are some ideas to help you find out what may be available in your area:
- Ask your local library or community centre. They might know about groups which are run near you.
- Do an internet search to look for details of online or offline peer support. You might also find details of local groups on social media.
- Some organisations such as Amity Mutual Support Group, Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service and Richmond Fellowship of Hong Kong also offer further information about peer support services in Hong Kong
Some universities may offer peer support services specifically for students. You could therefore ask your student union, student advice team or student wellbeing centre for information about peer support available at your university.
Becoming a peer supporter
If you attend a group or share your experience online, you’re already a peer supporter. Even if you don’t speak up often, your presence counts. In peer support, listening to others is as important as sharing your own experiences.
You might also decide to get more involved by:
- volunteering. Many organisations offer opportunities to volunteer, for example by helping to moderate online communities.
- setting up your own group or being involved in group facilitation.
- applying for paid roles as a peer support worker, which will often include training.