| Published: March 10, 2021
Effectiveness of an online peer support model: A quantitative study
DIP: DIP: 18.01.051/20210901
DOI: DOI: 10.25215/0901.051
Peer support in mental healthcare is “a system of giving and receiving help founded on key principles of respect, shared responsibility, and mutual agreement on what is helpful” (Mead, Hilton & Curtis, 2001). Online peer support has evolved rapidly in recent years, as a virtual social space where people come together to get and give information or support, to learn, or to find company (Preece, 2001). The present study aims at exploring the effectiveness of an online peer support model through a quantitative analysis- exploring the experiences of individuals who seek help from such teams, and further understanding if such a model can help in providing the first step for those that need to seek professional support in cases of mental health issues. For the purpose of this study, a quantitative design was used. A feedback survey was created and data was collected randomly from 25 (n=25) participants. The participants of the study were individuals who had reached out for emotional support to the team implementing this model. The data obtained was analysed using descriptive statistics. The results indicated that majority of the participants (56%) discontinued contact with the online peer support team (PST) as they were able to resolve their concern or felt better, while the rest moved on to seek professional mental help, either independently (16%) or with the assistance of the online PST team (28%). The online peer support system helped individuals to address a variety of concerns including anxiety/sadness, self-esteem problems, interpersonal relationship problems and other related issues. Some areas of improvements were suggested by the help-seekers, including prompt responding and support catering to individual differences. More research needs to be done in this area to further comprehend the scope of online peer support in the realm of online counseling, as well as to understand the effectiveness of online peer support as an approach that can be effective as the first step for individuals seeking mental health support in the country today.
This is an Open Access Research distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any Medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
© 2021 Kumar S., Simran Kaur S., Dhawan S., Khattar S. & Sharma A.
Received: January 07, 2021; Revision Received: February 20, 2021; Accepted: March 10, 2021
Published in Volume 09, Issue 1, January-March, 2021