EHRA published the manual on online counseling

Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) published the Peer-to-Peer Counselor Manual for Online Counseling.

There are many manuals and trainings developed on peer-to-peer counseling. If you are wondering why you need another manual and how it differs from those already developed, we can answer that this manual introduces peer counseling online.

The drug scene in the world has changed a lot in the last decades, and these changes continue. Some time ago, peer counselors were most effective in places where drugs are sold, such as drug dealers’ homes, “hangouts”, and other scenes where people who use drugs gather. Now, these processes are increasingly taking place on the Internet. These changes were strongly influenced by the pandemics of COVID-19.

Criminalization, stigma, and discrimination can limit access to low-threshold services (housing, food, treatment) and harm reduction services for people who use psychoactive substances.

These changes necessitate the introduction and further implementation of peer online counseling approaches. It is essential to support and develop forms of remote harm reduction: moving counseling and provision of information to the Internet, enabling delivery of necessary handouts or getting syringes, condoms, tests, and masks from vending machines, sending materials by mail, etc.

COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of burnout syndrome in peer counselors. Treatment interruptions, difficulty accessing services, and other reasons have negatively impacted the mental health of community members involved in peer-to-peer counseling. At the same time, many have had to master online tools for their work. So, peer-to-peer counseling is a technique you can use to bring about positive change in difficult situations.

The purpose of the manual is to train peer counselors and improve their skills in online peer-to-peer counseling. We provide approaches, tools, and algorithms for help, support, and harm reduction for people who use psychoactive substances that can be adapted to the specifics of the drug scene, the needs of people, and the resources of peer counselors in a given country.

Read the manual in full AT THIS LINK.