Peer based approaches can reach the hard to reach

Trained peers can strengthen the process of learning through sustained involvement with their peers and are often better equipped to contact hard-to-reach populations.1

Peer programs are also effective because peers may have ongoing contact through their social networks.

In general, peer based programs have the capacity to engage with young people at risk offering a non-judgmental, understanding and supportive environment amongst like-minded peers to help them cope with stressful life events and improve resilience.

In addition, peer programs have the capacity to engage and influence at risk or disengaged youth who may be out of school and may not have access to, or who may be fearful of accessing, mainstream support services including GP, specialist help services or counselling.

Here peer programs provide a youth friendly setting where required information is easily accessible and autonomy regarding disclosure of personal information is respected and maintained.1-5


  1. McDonald, J, Ashenden, R, Grove, J, Bodein, H, Cormack, S, Allsop, S 2000. Youth for Youth: A Project to Develop Skills and Resources for Peer Education: Final Report, National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), Adelaide.
  2. Bament, D & South Australian Community Health Research Unit, 2001, ‘Peer education literature review/Danielle Bament’, South Australian Community Health Research Unit, Adelaide.
  3. Howard, J, Nicholas, J, Brown, G, Karacanta,A 2001, Same-sex attracted youth and suicide.Mental health promotion and young people: Concepts and practice., L. Rowling, G. Martin, and L. Walker, Editors., McGraw-Hill Australia: Roseville, NSW.
  4. Mitchell, A, 2004, Hands on Health Promotion, In Moodie R, Hulme, A, editors, IP Communications, Melbourne, pp. 207-217.
  5. Shiner, M 2000, Doing it for themselves: an evaluation of peer approaches to drug prevention, Home Office, UK Home Office Drugs Prevention Advisory Service, London.