The golden rule of medicine, and by extension any service or treatment concerned with health, is ‘first do no harm’.

[picture of hippocrates here, and mention him in text?]

Peer support should never put facilitators nor peers at risk.

The basic rules to follow to ensure safety are:

  • Never meet a peer in their or your home until you feel you can trust them
  • If you fear that a peer will do something unsafe, inform a health professional
  • If you feel out of your depth, speak with whoever is supporting you as a facilitator
  • If a peer is ever threatening to you or others in the group, seek help from whoever is supporting you or the police.

With respect to the last point, other peer support services have found that this might be problem if peer support takes place over the telephone.

Ground rules

Early on in the group, it is important to define some boundaries for the group meeting. Examples are:

  • Respecting each other by listening to group members
  • Maintaining confidentiality
  • Switching off mobile phones
  • All questions are okay

It may be useful to keep a record of these to refer to later.