Peer support: Improving depression management in a global world
Malcolm Battersby and Sharon Lawn of FHBHRU with their international partners Dr David Richards of the University of York in the United Kingdom and Dr Marcia Valenstien of the University of Michigan (USA) will pilot an international peer-partner support program linking people in treatment with depression across national boundaries via telephone voice-over internet protocol (VOIP) and a study website.
Peer-support interventions have the potential to empower patients and improve their outcomes by increasing their ability to self-manage, participate in treatment decision-making, and contribute to the well-being of others.
Matching of peer-partners internationally has the important advantage of providing supportive contacts for patients during early morning, late evening and night time hours. Depressed patients awaken at night are frequently anxious, and their usual social network is ‘inoperative’ as family and friends sleep. Peer-partners operating in different time zone are able to provide supportive interactions at these times.