A peer supporter who offers a listening service is a person who has been trained in counselling skills that include active listening, verbal and non-verbal communication, confidentiality and problem solving. Peer supporters who have completed certain training may then go on to offer support to their peers on a formal basis.
This involves peers educating peers on specific topics, such as coping with depression, anxiety or addiction. This will generally include a group of peers of similar age, status and background to the people to whom they are delivering material.
Peer tutoring is a model whereby a peer supporter aids a peer, whether of the same age or younger, with his or her academic and social learning. The support offered by the peer tutor can be cross-curricular and take the form of paired reading or paired writing.
One example of a this would be a ‘buddy’ system in which people who have received certain training are attached to a new group and act as a friend, mentor and guide to ease people into a new environment, eg a school, hospital.
Another aspect of peer mentoring is that of a positive role model, involving a long-term commitment between the mentor and mentee.The peer mentor is linked to a mentee and has the role of befriender, listener and mediator.