This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)
We have never been more connected; at the touch of a button we can talk to anyone anywhere. We are swimming in a sea of information about all the happenings in the world and in our community. This exponential increase in the means and quantity of communication has changed our lives but has left us trapped in the constant barrage of updates. When tragic events happen, like being diagnosed with cancer, death of a loved one, divorce, illness, failure, there is hardly any time or space to slow down and get a one on one compassionate connection.
A small fraction of the medical world has caught on to this, they have discovered that telling a patient; you have diabetes, now here you must follow this diet handout and keep your sugar under control hardly ever works. Few people grasp in that hurried interaction how much they really must change their life style to achieve diabetes control. Extensive research on the use of peer support for the management of diabetes has shown that spending time with another person who has suffered the same type of problem and knows the ropes, the practical day to day actions that lead to better diabetes control can have great impact on outcomes. The same goes for peer support in the fields of mental health, substance use disorder and maternal child health.
So how do we make this peer support system more available to the public? Hardly anyone knows that this is an option that is funded by the Affordable Care Act, in theory we all could have access to this type of support. But the infrastructure is just not there yet. Currently connecting patients and peers takes enormous effort and coordination. Few seem to understand how to access peers or get reimbursed for these services.
The current efforts to make peer support more available are fragmentary and often involve anonymous telecommunication. We at EleosHub think these connections need to be in person to truly have a life changing impact. There is something about meeting a person face to face, looking them in the eyes, shaking their hand and then sharing your pain that has an immense healing power. The transference of compassion still requires the human presence. Our mission is to use modern tools of communication to facilitate profound human connection with the purpose of attaining compassionate support in difficult times.