Interview with Peer Supporter Anna Hand

Anna Hand is a peer supporter Berkshire West Your Way and in this interview shares her lived experience and how she is using that to support others. A big thank you to Anna for taking part in the interview and for speaking in such an open and insightful way as part of our campaign for Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 to show the inspiring impact peer support can have.

In this first clip below Anna shares her lived experience of mental distress including some difficult circumstances that impacted her mental health and led to her receiving a diagnosis of Cyclothymia:

In this second clip Anna explains how she reached a crisis point and was detained under the Mental Health Act or as that’s commonly referred to, being sectioned. At that point she also received a new diagnosis of Bipolar Anna describes how the process felt for her at the time, whether she thought that was the right thing for her then and how her feelings have changed over time on it. She also shares how she is feeling now and reflections on the process:

In this final clip Anna discusses her move to providing peer support and how she has started to build a relationship with the person she’s working alongside. Additionally she considers the effect providing peer support and helping another person has been having on her own wellbeing:

Thank you again to Anna for taking the time to share her experiences. For more on Together’s theme of Peer Support for Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 go to