EXPEERTs Study Day 2018

Peer support: a cross-cutting approach to the fields of health, mental health and disability

Maison des Sciences de l’Homme de Bretagne (MSHB), Rennes, November, 7th 2018

Peer support in health, disability and mental health fields has been practiced for centuries and covers the entire globe. Let’s think for example of the Popular Health movement born in the 19th century in the USA, the very numerous clubs for war-disabled at the beginning of the 20th century in France, and self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous that spread throughout the world, etc.

In the Western context, initiatives carried out by and for peers have been widely diversified since the end of the 19th century, mainly due to improvements in living conditions (the struggle for survival is no longer the primary objective of support) and an increase in life expectancy (with new situations being provided for). Gradually, new causes, identities and affiliations are emerging in a context of growing concern for the individual, his rights and freedoms. Peer support has been deployed in particular in several social movements in favour of the individual: civil rights, freedom of sexual orientation, enlightened consumer behaviour, demedicalisation, deinstitutionalisation, etc.

With or without a programme of mobilization, peer support is characterized by a common inspiration found in the self-help philosophy, a specific relational attitude, the will to improve everyday life, the recognition of the importance of experiential knowledge, self-determination and empowerment. Today, peer support is experiencing renewed interest due to its promotion by contemporary public policies (RAPT, Housing First, etc.). These recent implementations raise and pose new questions about identities, peer-to-peer relationships, practices, ethics and organizational frameworks. The effects of institutionalisation through public policy are not yet truly understood.

Transversality: what we have in common

The morning was devoted to understanding how it is that – beyond the boundaries drawn between these areas of disability, chronic illness or mental health – individuals are able to recognize their   peers and share relationships with similar effects; how it is that peer groups that do not know each other,  can share common values and objectives. How it is that peer groups that do not know each other,  can share common values and objectives.

This transversality, which creates common ground in the fields of disability, chronic illness and mental health, raises questions:

  • On what basis do we recognize ourselves as peers today?
  • What problems are we becoming aware of? What solutions are sought and found?

Plenary “Peer support: what are we talking about?

Podcast (french)

Round table “Peer support: mobilizing to cope, relying on your peers”

Podcast (french)

Transversality: what makes a distinction

The afternoon was devoted to a better understanding of what makes for difference and diversity, despite their common foundations. A major finding of the current survey is that practices, statutes and organisations are different. The training and professionalization of peer-supporters were the subject of lively debate. Work with institutions and professionals was discussed. Indeed, the different statutes, protocols and methodologies, the diversity of commitments of institutions, associations and federations, the variety of ways of welcoming within multi-professional teams, etc., have an influence on peer-support practices.

Plenary session “Peer support: what effects do statutes and practice contexts have? »

Podcast (french)

Round table “Peer support: effects of different statuses on actual practices”.

Podcast (french)

Downloads available
  1. The program for the EXPEERTs study day 2018
  2. The Acts of the EXPEERTs study day 2018
SOMe links
  1. to the Aire d’U
  2. to the MSHB page of the project

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