Peer Listening


Peer listening is a type of support that occurs when people provide knowledge, experience, emotional, social or practical help to each other. Properly trained peer listeners can provide a number of services to the community, such as serving as an available ear to assist in problem solving or providing referrals to professionals. Peer listeners drawn from local communities are more often trusted than outsiders because they better understand the community and its relationship to the disaster. Peer listeners work with local churches, community groups, mental health organizations or individually with family and friends. Many people affected by technological disasters are reluctant to use traditional mental health services. Often those affected might not even be aware they could use such services. Research has shown that traditional mental health services may not be effective in dealing with the long-term effects of disasters. Informal social support networks including trained peer listeners are one way to address these difficulties