How to start a peer support group in your community:
- It only takes two people to start a support group so find another person who is interested in peer support. If you have more, wonderful. Eight is the ideal number
- Agree with other attendees on some ground rules for the meeting. What can and cannot be discussed. Keep it positive and recovery focused
- Find a location that is safe, conveniently located and free of charge
- Agree on a time and day of the week that works well for both of you. Usually peer support meetings last 1 hour
- Contact your local paper about a free listing for your support group
- Make up a few flyers to post on free community bulletin boards around town
- Show up to the meeting on time and keep it consistent. This is very important
- Warmly welcome every new person to the meeting
- Each meeting should have an introduction and a closing. This should be read each time without exception. Keep a format for the meeting lets people know what the meeting is about, the format, the topic, and when it is over.
- Don’t forget to smile
Building a peer program
If you need hands on assistance building or enhancing peer services Montana’s Peer Network offers consulting services at reasonable prices customized to fit your needs. Contact Executive Director Jim Hajny at 406-551-1058 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a list of current peer groups in Montana, please see our “Peer Support Groups in Montana” page