ShareWell launches free peer support training program to help fight the mental health crisis

Training will empower those interested in hosting peer support groups with the tools needed to be better mental health allies, facilitators and supporters

ShareWell launches free peer support training program

ShareWell — which is the peer support platform connecting people overcoming similar life challenges to find support, healing and connection — announced the launch of its free digital peer support training program. The 10-hour training program was created in partnership with two therapists, a counselor and an executive coach and is designed to educate peer support hosts on how to help others with mental health struggles, while also aiding in self-healing by facilitating and leading a peer support group.

How does it work?

A host can be anyone interested in peer support and sharing their story while actively encouraging and holding space for their peers to do the same. The training is designed for both new and experienced hosts and does not require any previous facilitation experience or expertise.

The training consists of nine digital modules complete with eLearning exercises and self-reflection questions. It includes topics such as trauma awareness, crisis response and inclusion and covers everything from how to create emotional safety to how to discover your facilitation style. By completing this training, hosts will not only benefit from facilitating peer support sessions around a topic they have lived experiences with, but also gain a safe space to share their stories and actively heal amongst the group.

ShareWell is the first peer support platform created as a mental health alternative or supplement for teletherapy. Its digital peer groups offer a safe, non-judgmental and anonymous space for people with similar life experiences to connect, heal and provide support. It differs from traditional therapy or group support in that it’s led by peers who have similar life experiences and can better relate in a more empathic way. ShareWell is free for basic members and only $60 a year for unlimited access, much less expensive than traditional therapy, which can cost anywhere from $100-$150 a session.

On the record

“ShareWell was created with the mission to provide an affordable and accessible solution to combat the mental health crisis,” said CeCe Cheng, founder and CEO of ShareWell. “In the last year alone, we’ve hosted thousands of peer support groups on our platform and have seen firsthand the transformative power of peer support. There’s nothing like talking to a real person who is going through the same thing you are. With this training program, we hope more people will feel confident in their ability to help others heal while reaping the benefits of hosting themselves.”

“One of the best things about peer support hosting is that you don’t have to be an expert to help others struggling with mental health, meaning anyone who wants to help can,” said Renee D, a ShareWell member that has completed the host training. “Being in a peer support group with people you can actually relate to can make all the difference. I’m glad this training can support me in learning how to be a good peer support host and that hosting is also beneficial for my healing.”

The context

The mental health crisis continues to grow at a rapid rate, with more than 50 million Americans experiencing a mental illness from 2019-2020 and over half (54.7%) not receiving treatment. This, in part, is due to the rising demand for mental health treatment coupled with the limited number of therapists available and the rising cost of care. Peer support is an evidence-backed solution to these problems, and on average reduces inpatient days by 70-90% and lowers the overall cost of services anywhere from 2.3-6.5 times. ShareWell aims to provide the platform and community for those seeking out peer support as a supplement or alternative to traditional therapy. Its training program will serve as a complement to the ShareWell platform, which already provides members with the necessary resources to create and host groups virtually.