An Evaluation of a Peer Support Intervention for Student Mental Health

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Peer support is support provided by and for people with similar experiences. As students turn to peers for support with their mental health, peer support may provide an opportunity to engage students at an informal level and avoid some barriers to help-seeking.
The study aimed to identify students likely to attend peer support and evaluate the acceptability and impact of the intervention.
A six-part peer-led course for mild depression, based on behavioural activation and implementation intentions, was evaluated across 8 UK universities with 65 students participating in the evaluation. The evaluation focused on Mental Wellbeing.
Participants were predominately female and had been experiencing anxiety or depression for more than one year. Most participants had already approached professional services for support. At least 57% of participants attended more than one session and 34% completed the course. Students with lower levels of mental wellbeing were more likely to complete the course. For students returning, there was a significant increase in mental wellbeing.
Structured peer support for depression may have benefits in improving student mental wellbeing. However, this is unlikely to have a substantive effect in improving early and preventative intervention.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 20 Dec 2017


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