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Exploring The Role of Peer Groups in Beating Burnout and Supporting Mental Health

Exploring The Role of Peer Groups in Beating Burnout and Supporting Mental Health


It should come as no surprise that burnout, feelings of disconnection and lack of belonging, and lack of professional growth opportunities can all hurt mental health and work performance. For years since the Covid-19 pandemic brought mental health and our need for connection into the spotlight, professional associations have been grappling with how to support their members’ mental health. 

Our team at Forums@work has built a scalable and cost-effective solution for professional associations to offer to help their members overcome these challenges: peer support groups (we call them Peer Forums). 

In this white paper, we present the latest research about how Forum-style peer support groups help individuals overcome burnout, create a sense of belonging, and support deep personal and professional growth. 

Burnout:

Burnout is a common challenge in many workplaces and can result in a range of negative consequences, including reduced productivity, lower job satisfaction, and increased stress. Peer support groups provide a space for individuals to connect with others who are experiencing similar challenges and share coping strategies. Studies have found that participation in peer support groups can lead to reduced symptoms of burnout and increased job satisfaction.

Belonging:

Feeling a sense of belonging at work and with others is essential for overall well-being and job satisfaction. Peer support groups foster a sense of belonging by providing a space for individuals to connect with others who share their interests and experiences. By offering a supportive and inclusive environment, these groups can help reduce feelings of isolation and promote a sense of community. The most common feedback we hear from our Forum participants is, “it’s not just me.”

Professional Growth:

Peer support groups also offer opportunities for professional growth and development. By connecting with other professionals in their field, members can share knowledge, learn new skills, and receive feedback on their work. These groups can also provide a space for individuals to practice new skills, receive mentoring from more experienced peers, and learn from the experience of others without judgment. Additionally, participating in peer support groups can increase one's sense of professional identity and build a supportive network of peers.

The Science Behind Peer Support:

The benefits of peer support groups are supported by research on social support and human connection. Studies have found that social support can help buffer the effects of stress and promote positive mental health outcomes. Additionally, peer support can promote the development of social skills and improve communication and relationship-building abilities. Research suggests that the positive effects of peer support can be attributed to a range of factors, including the emotional support provided by group members, the opportunity to share experiences and learn from one another, and the development of a shared sense of identity and purpose.

The Role of Professional Associations in Beating Burnout and Supporting Members' Mental Health

Participation in peer support groups can offer numerous benefits to individuals seeking support for burnout, lack of belonging, and professional growth challenges. By providing a safe and supportive space for individuals to connect, share experiences, and offer mutual support, these groups can promote positive mental health outcomes and help individuals build strong professional networks. 

Professional associations have a unique opportunity to provide their members with valuable resources and support through peer support groups. By facilitating a safe and supportive environment for members to connect and share experiences with one another, associations can help improve their members' mental health and professional development, leading to increased job satisfaction and reduced stress levels. Moreover, these offerings can help associations generate additional value for their members, contributing to increased member retention rates and generating new non-dues revenue for the association. 


Learn More About Forums for Communities: Forums@work is the leading provider of peer Forums programs for professional associations. Our Forums for Communities platform delivers a one-of-kind member engagement program to generate new revenue, increase renewal rates, and create a thriving community among your members without increasing your staff's workload. Learn more at our website.