In a recent blog post entitled “A Simple, Yet Powerful Solution to the Mental Health Crisis: Peer Support,” the Chief Medical Officers of NAMI and the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention suggest that peer support may be the most opportune path out of America’s mental health provider shortage.

Acknowledging the untenable timeline for training new clinicians, Christine Moutier, M.D. and Ken Duckworth, M.D. state in a joint post that they “believe a non-clinical solution can help immediately: peer support.”

Moutier and Duckworth speak to the cultural shift that has put peer support in the limelight: “More than ever, our society is saying it wants and needs guidance to engage in these conversations in supportive ways, which means increasing cultural awareness, humility and availability around helpful resources to reach everyone.”

Peer support leans into this demand. Additionally, the “pluses” to peer support include short training times for providers, lower barriers to entry, and less stigma than traditional mental health modalities. Peer support can open the door to mental healthcare for marginalized populations and those with less access to clinical care–who are especially impacted by the nation’s mental health crisis.

Speaking of access, peer support also lends itself well to novel implementations that can increase accessibility, like in the online, on-demand peer support chats offered at Supportiv.

Moutier and Duckworth conclude their opinion by reiterating the value of both clinical and subclinical mental healthcare:

“Of course, we need many more professionals and ways to bring them into this remarkable and rewarding field. In the meantime, those experiencing mental health challenges should know that there are people who understand, who can offer support and help them move forward. You’ll be surprised how opening up more authentic conversations and connecting with peer support are two avenues that can help in powerful ways.”

Those of us at Supportiv couldn’t agree more.