Natural Helpers originated in Seattle, Washington in 1979 due to the rise of teenage suicide and additional behavioral health difficulties, such as substance abuse. After extensive clinical studies, this program was developed and based upon research that adolescents will often seek out their friends when experiencing a problem before mental health professionals and other school personnel. Potential "natural helpers" are identified by their peers in a survey format, resulting in a helping network of students with a variety of backgrounds and interests. Natural Helpers undergo training to enhance their "natural helping" skills.

Natural Helpers are not professionally trained counselors or therapists. They are students who provide support to their peers that are coming to them for help. They are provided with the knowledge to determine when professional services should be sought, and to whom and where they should access that help.