Peer Support

Poetry for Personal Power’s peer support programs help youth and young adults reach their full potential by building mental health well-being. The organization provides a strong foundation of relationships, community resources, and resilience supports. This gives youth and young adults the strength to buffer the social challenges and toxic stress that many people face.

Peer support is one of the best ways to support mental health. According to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and Kansas Mental Health Coalition, peer support:

  • Is the most-effective mental health intervention
  • Provides a 70% reduction in inpatient hospitalization (for psychiatric issues)
  • Is priceless (only 1% of the U.S. population has access to formal peer supports)

Peer support, through Poetry for Personal Power, uses artists and advocates to essentially “plug” people back into relationships with their communities. This occurs as artists find and intersect with community programs, and then expertly guide people who are at-risk to connect with these community organizations (i.e., interest/hobby clubs, gyms, houses of worship, etc.).

These community programs are also known as ‘natural community support organizations’ and can work in the following ways:

  • Art – People with two or more hours of live arts exposure per week have significantly higher mental well-being (BMC Public Health, 2016)
  • Martial Arts – For kids with ADHD, martial arts has proven to increase the percentage of homework completed, academic performance, and class preparation (Morand, Ph.D. dissertation, 2004)
  • Spoken-Word Poetry – Connecting with a community, communication, and discussing emotional development helps poets feel balanced in everyday life (The Arts in Psychotherapy, 2014)
  • Exercise – The effect size of exercise is equivalent to cognitive behavioral therapy (BMJ, 2001).

Leaders in Creating Peer Support Programs: