Peer Support

Wellbeing > Peer Support

Peer support is the support you can get from other people in a similar position to you. This could include someone to listen to who you know understands your situation, someone to provide practical advice, or someone who makes you feel a lot more normal by sharing a similar experience.

In this guide you’ll find discussion forums for different mental health conditions, as well as peer support groups – both online and offline – that you can join.

Tips on staying safe online

The discussion forums and peer support groups we’ve listed here are well-managed with dedicated staff and volunteers to keep discussion safe and constructive for those involved.

However, there are some good practices to bear in mind when going online to talk about mental health:

  • Protect your privacy. Don’t share any personal details online. Make sure you have a secure password and that you change it regularly.
  • Keep things balanced. Make sure you’re getting breaks and that being online isn’t interfering with your sleep.
  • Maintain boundaries with others. Supporting someone else online can be very rewarding, but ask yourself regularly if it’s helping. It’s easy for us to become involved in the situation of someone else and start feeling responsible for their well-being, even if we only communicate with them online. If you feel like you’re “giving too much” and it’s making you feel stressed, it’s important to step back for a bit.
  • If someone says something to you that is upsetting, take it with a pinch of salt. Online communication is rarely perfect and what you read could be a very different thing to what they meant. You can always ask them to clarify what they mean. If you find yourself getting into an argument with someone, just walk away – it’s not worth it!

Discussion forums

Bipolar UK – eCommunity 

https://www.bipolaruk.org/ecommunity

  • Online community where people can share lived experience and support each other 
  • Moderated forum for everyone affected by bipolar 

Elefriends  

https://www.elefriends.org.uk/

  • An online community for those over 18  
  • A safe place to listen, share and be heard 
  • Moderated daily by the Ele handler team from 10am to midnight 
  • A new platform called Side by Side will soon replace Elefriends  

OCD Action – Community 

https://www.ocdaction.org.uk/community

  • Online forum community where you can share experiences and interact with other people affected by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) 

OCD UK – Forums 

https://www.ocdforums.org/

  • A place for people affected by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and offer mutual advice and support 
  • Forums are moderator by volunteers 

Sane – Support Rooms 

http://www.sane.org.uk/what_we_do/support/supportforum/support_rooms/

  • An online community for those over 18  
  • A safe space to offer support, ideas and share experiences 24 hours a day 
  • 13 subject rooms to explore from information exchange, rant to information exchange 

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide – Forum 

https://uksobs.org/forum/

  • A safe and confidential environment where bereaved people can share their experiences and feelings, giving and gaining support from each other 
  • Online community offering peer-to-peer support for survivors of bereavement by suicide 

Peer Support Groups 

Free Resources 

Beat Eating Disorders – Online Support Groups 

https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/support-services/online-groups

  • Choose from 6 online support groups from chat rooms, Anorexia to Bulimia support 
  • Free and paid for services available 

Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation – Support Groups 

https://bddfoundation.org/support-groups/

  • A safe environment to talk about Body Dysmorphic Disorder 
  • Support groups which are currently being held online via Zoom or Skype 

Clic – Online Community 

https://clic-uk.org/

  • Online community to support everyone with their mental health to find help and information 
  • A safe, secure and supportive online chat room 
  • Discussion forums coming soon 

Eating Disorder Support – Self-Help Group 

http://www.eatingdisorderssupport.co.uk/help/self-help-group

  • Provides information, experiences and feelings about eating problems 
  • Confidential and open to all every Monday and Thursday at 7.30pm on Zoom 
  • Contact the group lead for meeting password 

HealthUnlocked – Men’s Health Forum 

https://healthunlocked.com/menshealth

  • Offering peer – to peer support network to share health experiences 
  • Forum for discussion of all men’s health questions (except for those about the penis) 
  • Access for over 16s only 

Mind – Peer Support Directory 

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/peer-support-directory/find-peer-support-where-you-live/

  • Peer support is when people use their own experiences to help each other 
  • Groups differ according to what you have in common, what you do together, how you access support and how many people take part 
  • Choose from over 300 groups in England offering peer support in the community 

Rethink Mental Illness – Peer Support Groups 

https://www.rethink.org/help-in-your-area/support-groups/

  • Local groups run by volunteers with either lived experience or in a caring role 
  • Support offered by phone, e-mail and other virtual technology at present 

Paid Resources 

Anxiety UK – Support Groups 

https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/product-category/support-groups/

  • For those affected by anxiety, stress and anxiety-based depression 
  • Online facilitated support groups – a minimum donation of £5 for each session but give what you can afford 
  • Therapist led group session range between £45 (members) – £90 (non-members) 

Big White Wall 

https://www.bigwhitewall.com/

  • An anonymous online peer to peer support community for anxiety, depression and other mental health issues 
  • For those aged 16 and over to access the service 
  • Available to all service personnel, veterans and their family members or via your employer, university or college   
  • Currently no individual subscriptions