Janice, Rockingham Respiratory Support Group, WA
Why start a peer support group?
There are many reasons why you may want to start a group; to raise awareness for a specific lung disease or lung cancer, share information and strategies for self-management and empower others. It can feel isolating when you are diagnosed with a lung condition and do not have the opportunity to connect with others who are in the same, or a similar position.
Creating a group in your community is possible and Lung Foundation Australia will provide support to help you achieve your peer support goals.
How does a peer support group run?
Our peer support group network is diverse and includes groups for specific conditions, varying interests, and formality to the meet the needs of our community. All groups share the goal of creating an environment where everyone can feel safe and welcomed.
Peer support groups can:
- Meet face to face virtually or in person
- Hold regular meetings for formal discussion
- Invite healthcare professionals to guest present at meetings
- Share experiences in an informal social setting
- Participate in activities together
What makes a successful peer support group leader?
The power of lived experience when leading a peer support group is invaluable; it enables you, as a group leader to connect with peers on a deeper empathetic level. You do not need to hold specific qualifications to start a group.
There are many qualities that make a successful group leader including;
- Being comfortable sharing your story
- The ability to remind yourself to ask for help
- A willingness to empower others
- Empathy and compassion
Leading a peer support group is a role you can choose to experience individually, or with a co-leader. Many of our current groups are facilitated by multiple leaders so they can share in the challenges and successes together.
Lung Foundation Australia acknowledges the importance of group leaders looking after their own health and wellbeing first, above all else. Starting a group with a co-leader or multiple leaders allows the opportunity to share the facilitation and support each other.
Lung Foundation Australia Affiliated Support Group Network
There are approximately 70 peer support groups throughout Australia led by consumers – patients and carers alike. Living with lung disease or lung cancer can be complex and we recognise that not all consumers will have the same needs and wants out of a peer support group. By joining our network, you will gain support from Lung Foundation Australia, whilst running your group to reflect the values and needs of your members.
By joining our network, you will be offered:
- Peer Support Group Leader Induction Module
- The group leader Welcome Pack
- Mental health and well-being resources
- Membership to our ‘Better Together’ peer support group Leader community
- Take ownership of your group’s goals and activities
- Opt-in to our Peer Mentor program
Employee Assistance Program
Lung Foundation Australia acknowledges and values the contribution of volunteer peer support group leaders. As part of our peer support program, Lung Foundation Australia is able to offer access to a short term, professional, confidential counselling service known as an Employee Assistance Program at no cost to nominated group leaders. You will be able to find out more about this program when you engage with our Peer Support Coordinator.
Register your interest
Lung Foundation Australia encourages people from diverse backgrounds to express their interest in starting a peer support group. For more information and to register your interest in starting a peer support group, complete the expression of interest form below.
Peer Mentor Program
Connecting with someone else who has insight into the Group Leader role when starting your own group can be immensely helpful. Take advantage of the opportunity be matched with an experienced Peer Support Group Leader, who understands what it is like to take this step and can provide you with non-judgemental guidance and one-on-one encouragement.
By joining the program, you will:
- Receive up to four telephone check-ins with an experienced group leader
- Gain ideas for group meetings and activities
- Troubleshoot challenges
- Celebrate successes
- Feel connected to the Group Leader community
For more information and to register your interest in joining the Peer Mentor Program, complete the expression of interest form.
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