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Peer support and children and young people’s mental health

Research review

This report presents the findings from a literature review of available models of peer support that support and improve children and young people’s mental health, their key features and evidence of their effectiveness. The review covers peer support interventions for young people (of school age) from the past 10 years. Evidence from the UK is considered alongside international evidence.

The review was commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) in January 2016 and was conducted between January and May 2016. The aim of the review was to provide an objective assessment of the available literature to inform future work around peer support for mental health and wellbeing. It aims to provide evidence on the practical implementation of existing peer support programmes and how this relates to their effectiveness. The review aimed primarily to identify interventions with a focus on mental health. However, the review also included peer support for related topics such as bullying, transitions, wider wellbeing and friendship.