People with mental health issues who are in contact with police and courts in North, East and North East London, will soon be able to access peer support, after Together received a grant from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s Charity.
Peer support takes place when people with similar experiences support each other towards better wellbeing. It has been shown to help people take huge strides towards better mental health and achieving the life they want to lead. Members of the national liaison and diversion programme board, who themselves have experience of the Criminal Justice System and/or mental health services, identified that although peer support is currently rare within these services, it would be beneficial.
Together applied for and was awarded funding over two years to pilot peer support within its North, East and North East London liaison and diversion service. The service, delivered against NHS England’s National Liaison and Diversion Operating Model, assesses the needs of vulnerable individuals in magistrates’ courts, crown courts and police custody settings, working closely with a wide range of partners to ensure that individuals have access to the right health and social care services.
Starting later this year, Together will offer peer support to individuals as they leave police and court settings. This will accompany the work of our Community Link Workers, who support individuals throughout the criminal justice pathway to help them engage or re-engage with relevant services to tackle things like housing, addictions or debt, as well as their mental wellbeing. Volunteer Peer Supporters will complement this by offering additional support, drawing on their own experiences to support others.
In line with Together’s commitment to embed high quality peer support within its services, we will recruit a Peer Support Coordinator who themselves has experience of mental distress and the Criminal Justice System. The Peer Support Coordinator will recruit volunteers and provide ongoing supervision to Peer Supporters. Peer Supporters will also take part in an four-day training course, that is designed and delivered by people with lived experience, to ensure that they can safely and confidently deliver peer support.
A group of people with lived experience of mental distress and the Criminal Justice System have been involved in shaping the design and delivery of peer support within this setting and will continue to oversee and review the project throughout the two years.
Together delivers the London Liaison and Diversion trial site alongside Barnet, Enfield & Haringey Mental Health Trust (BEHMHT), East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) and North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT).
For further information please contact the Communications Team on 0207 7807 316.