Diversity of beliefs and knowledge is a key element of peer support for male survivors of sexual abuse.

Peer support tied to fewer repeat mental health hospitalizations

Adults who have been hospitalized for psychiatric problems may be less likely to be readmitted when they get support from other patients who went through similar experiences, a UK study suggests.

Researchers followed 441 patients for one year after they were discharged from the hospital. All of them received personal recovery workbooks to help them manage their own care. Half of them also received 10 sessions with a peer support worker with a history of mental illness.

One year after they left the hospital, patients who received peer counseling were 34 percent less likely to have a repeat admission than people who didn’t get this type of support, the study found.

“Reducing hospital admissions is quite hard to do, and a good number of strategies aimed at doing this have failed in trials,” said study leader Sonia Johnson of University College London.

“So it’s impressive to find that a fairly short and simple intervention with someone with their own experience of mental health problems has succeeded where some rather more elaborate interventions have failed,” Johnson said by email.