Mutual Support Training

"Mutual support is the practice of coming together with another person to use your shared life experiences to overcome a challenge that you have both encountered. When trying to help someone who is struggling with a problem, it might be your instinct to fix it. Fixing a problem for someone is not mutual. It’s a one-sided conversation. Fixing a problem for someone assumes that you know what’s right for them. Mutual support is about asking the right questions at the right time, and knowing when to just listen. Sometimes, what you don’t say is even more helpful than what you do say.

In the mental health and recovery field, the word “peer” is used to refer to someone with the first hand experience of living with a mental health challenge. Traditionally, the craft of telling one’s story has been the sole domain of Peer Specialists and Peer Mentors; those who have self-disclosed their mental health diagnosis. But we are all peers—we all have a story to tell! So long as people are people, we already have a lot in common." 

Excerpt from The Mutual Support Workbook, © 2009, Lee Shuer, Director of Mutual Support.