I found a purpose in my life after the psychosis episode by attending a particular discussion group that runs on every Wednesday afternoons. I am always looking forward to it as I can meet with peers and learn new things and topics from this group.
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The peer support program I started with went well and has been taken over by our ministry of health through our national referral hospital Butabika hospital to be rolled out across the whole country. I have now concentrated on raising mental health awareness to combat stigma which I think is very, very important.
Are peer support programs effective?
Yes! There has been a lot of research that shows how peer support programs have a positive impact on the recovery and well-being of those suffering from mental illnesses. Untreated mental illnesses can have devastating consequences, and having a support system is essential for successful treatment.The road to mental health can be difficult and intimidating, but it can be manageable with the right support system. Evidence has shown that taking advantage of peer support programs contributes to stronger social support systems, increases the likelihood of treatment follow-through, and can even reduce hospitalizations or re-admissions due to a mental health crisis.
What are the benefits?
In addition to being part of a healthy support system, peer support programs provide a multitude of benefits:
Peer supporters are individuals who have gone through similar experiences, so they know how difficult dealing with a mental illness can be.
The mental health system is complex, and people often don’t know where to turn or what is available to them. Peer supporters can provide the resources necessary to make decisions that are right for them.
Peer support doesn’t replace the treatments outlined by a primary care doctor or mental health professional, but it can be a good way to make sense of what is happening.
For more information about how peer support programs can improve mental health, please refer to the following resources: