Peer support takes place when people with experience of mental distress support each other towards better wellbeing, as people of equal value and on a reciprocal basis, using their own lived experience as a tool for support.
We know from experience that peer support can help people to take huge strides forward in their recovery. People who have experienced mental health issues can offer privileged insight and understanding, and draw on their own experiences to help others. The support they give can be an extremely effective complement to support given by mental health professionals, or a lifeline to those for whom traditional mental health support has not worked.
We recognise the huge benefits of informal peer support, which has a long history and which we encourage to flourish in our services. As so many people have found peer support effective, we have worked alongside service users to create more “formal” peer support opportunities within our services. This means that we train people to act as Peer Supporters and provide the infrastructure they need to deliver this support safely and confidently. This includes supervision and support from a paid Peer Support Coordinator who themselves has experience of mental distress.
People with lived experience of mental distress play the lead role in developing our approach to peer support, including designing and delivering peer support training, and developing ways that peer support works in practice across Together.
Though the peer support each person gives or receives is unique and tailored to the individuals involved, all of Together’s peer support follows a set of core principles. These principles have been decided collectively by service users and Peer Supporters as part of a Peer Support Charter, and are at the heart of what is special and unique about our peer support. These principles are:
- Safety and Trust
- Being yourself
- Reducing stigma
- Person-centred goals
- Equality and empowerment
- Strength and potential
- Moving on
Peer2Peer is an established user-led network of peer support experts hosted by the National Survivor User Network. Peer2Peer brings together a range of individuals and organisations to share fresh approaches to developing and running peer support programmes. Find out more about the work of Peer2Peer
Peer Support Resources
Find out more
If you are interested in giving or receiving peer support, contact the Peer Support Coordinator in your area (see below for contact details). For more information about Together’s approach to peer support, or if there is not a Peer Support Coordinator in your area, please contact Jess Worner-Rodger.
Hampshire West Housing and Support Service (Eastleigh, New Forest, Andover, Winchester)
Peer Support Coordinator: Danielle Stibbs
Tel: 07880 039 600
Peer Support Practice Manager (for general enquiries about peer support)