Current Treatment Options in Psychiatry

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 221–231 | Cite as

The Future of Peer Support in Digital Psychiatry: Promise, Progress, and Opportunities

  • Karen L. FortunaEmail author
  • Maria Venegas
  • Emre Umucu
  • George Mois
  • Robert Walker
  • Jessica M. Brooks
Technology and its Impact on Mental Health Care (J Torous and T Becker, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Technology and its Impact on Mental Health Care



This selective review highlights promising findings and future opportunities relevant to digital peer support services. This review considered literature published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals within the past 36 months.

Recent findings

Digital peer support spans multiple technology modalities: peer-delivered and smartphone-supported interventions, peer-supported asynchronous technology, artificial peer support, informal peer-to-peer support via social media, video games, and virtual worlds. Digital peer support is an emerging area of research that shows promise in improving mental health symptoms, medical and psychiatric self-management skill development, social functioning, hope, and empowerment.


As the science of peer support in digital psychiatry advances, peer support specialists will likely have an increasingly important role in the mental health workforce—from providing evidence-based, fidelity-adherent interventions to expanding their reach to vulnerable populations and communities.


Peer support Digital health technology Patient-facilitated networks Mental health care 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Karen L. Fortuna, Maria Venegas, Emre Umucu, George Mois, Robert Walker, and Jessica M. Brooks declare no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

References and Recommended Reading

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen L. Fortuna
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maria Venegas
    • 2
  • Emre Umucu
    • 3
  • George Mois
    • 4
  • Robert Walker
    • 5
  • Jessica M. Brooks
    • 6
  1. 1.The Geisel School of Medicine at DartmouthConcordUSA
  2. 2.CDC Health Promotion Research Center at DartmouthLebanonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of Texas at El PasoEl PasoUSA
  4. 4.School of Social WorkUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  5. 5.Massachusetts Department of Mental HealthBostonUSA
  6. 6.Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical CenterJames J. Peters VA Medical CenterBronxUSA

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