Peer Support: A Shared Definition

/pir sə-ˈpȯrt /   noun

Peer Support is the support that people who share the lived experience of a health condition or health risk give to one another. It can also address issues beyond health. Online support group members choose memberships based on need for support based on a disease or health risk and their status as a patient, caregiver.

Information & Access

There are benefits to sharing knowledge through peer support on social media.

People can exchange information on treatments, outcomes, side effects, emotions, and other aspects of their health experiences with people across the globe who have the same challenges. Another benefit of sharing health knowledge on line is that matter where people live if they have access to the internet, they can connect to others and share life-saving information and support at any time.

Learn about the benefits

Misinformation & Privacy Abuse

There are also harms to sharing knowledge on social media.

Most peer support happens on for-profit social media platforms focused on monetizing user data. Privacy can be violated both when the platform uses or sells data and when third parties illegally access the data.

Learn about the harms

Peer Support On Social Media: By the Numbers


51% of young adults say they have tried to find people online with health concerns similar to their own.


220 million people participate in 'meaningful' Facebook groups in 2019. It is likely that many, if not most, involve peer support, although it is impossible say how many are focused on health. Hundreds of thousands of people participate in other online health group platforms.


79% of participants in our survey of 281 members of online cancer support groups said exchanging information was one of their primary reasons for participating.
Source: TLC 2019 Survey