A Woman's Therapist Recommends A Peer Support Person — 'It's Like Having A Friend That Gets Paid To Be Your Friend'

The impact that friendship has on our mental health cannot be understated.

woman comforting friend Daniel Hoz, Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock

For those struggling with their mental health, friendship is crucial. But not everyone has a support system that they can rely on, especially when depression and anxiety make it exceedingly difficult to make and keep friends. 

One woman shared that her therapist got her a peer support person for this very reason.

"So my therapist got me this person who comes by and takes me to Starbucks and takes me to get food," she said in a TikTok video. "It’s just like having a friend that gets paid to be your friend."




According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), "peer support workers are people who have been successful in the recovery process who help others experiencing similar situations."

One peer support specialist on TikTok aptly described his job as "bringing people with lived experience with mental health into mental health and behavioral health treatment."




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The impact that friendship has on our mental health cannot be understated. 

There are a multitude of factors that affect mental health, but having close friends makes a huge positive impact.

A study by Santini at the University of Barcelona found that friendship is linked with reduced depression and mortality. The study showed that those who feel more socially connected and less lonely are also less likely to experience anxiety and depression. 


Moreover, supportive friends actually help you to become more resilient and more equipped to cope with future problems by yourself. Good friends help improve your self-esteem and sense of autonomy.

But making friends is not always easy, especially as adults. Lacking close friends right now is not as uncommon as one would assume based on the idealistic friend groups that make up our Instagram feeds. In reality, the U.S. Surgeon General has declared a loneliness epidemic.

Social skills do not come naturally to everyone, and factors like moving and other major life changes make it difficult to maintain friendships. For some, a peer support person may be the perfect solution to find this sense of camaraderie and support. 

In fact, the comments on the original TikTok are filled with people asking how to get a peer support person of their own, proving just how necessary this is.


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It’s vital that anyone struggling with their mental health find a support system.

Unfortunately, not everyone has friends or family to lean on, and peer support people are able to help those who don’t.

This certainly wouldn’t be the first example of people paying for friendship. In Japan, there is a service where people can rent friends, partners, and family members for two hours for 6000 yen to combat loneliness.

Sorority girls everywhere are often criticized for "paying for friends" when they pay their organization’s dues. However, peer support people have a different goal than mere friendship. Rather, they are there to support you through mental health treatment.


They may actually be even more beneficial than organically-made friendships, as they too have experienced similar struggles and are more equipped to help you through it.

Whereas your own friends may not be able to relate to your mental health challenges, a peer support person has not only experienced something similar but has come out on the other side.

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Audrey Jaber is a Boston-based writer and Assistant Editor for YourTango.