Helping Friends: a peer support program for senior secondary schools

John Dillon, Anne Swinbourne
2007 Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health  
Peer support is used frequently in addressing the health of young people. Helping Friends builds on the existing peer helping networks in schools to improve the availability, accessibility and appropriateness of social and personal support. It increases young people's knowledge of and access to referral options (in and out of school) and assists in the development of a safe and supportive school environment. Twenty-two schools in North Queensland, Australia participated in the program with many
more » ... e program with many participating on several occasions. An evaluation of the Helping Friends program using the Social Provision Scale (Cutrona & Russell, 1987) was undertaken to determine whether there was an increase in perceived social support as hypothesised. Results revealed small yet significant increases along subscales of the Social Provision Scale. Pre and post measures of helping skills and knowledge of helping topics also revealed a significant increase following students' participation in training workshops. The results are discussed in terms of the efficacy of peer support programs for addressing the health needs of young people. The findings can be used to guide secondary schools in making decisions on the value of peer support programs and their application in school and out of school settings.
doi:10.5172/jamh.6.1.56 fatcat:ytesuwyyznefnptbglrjeduize