Developing peer support in the community: a toolkit – Mind
This toolkit is for people interested in mental health peer support happening in the community. This includes people who are:
- supporting and being supported through peer support
- setting up and running a peer support group or project
- involved in commissioning peer support projects.
It will be particularly useful for people who want to establish a new peer support project.
Peer Support Hub
National Voices has a Peer Support Hub an online bank of high quality resources for people looking to measure, evaluate, sustain and grow different types of peer support.
Community Capacity and Peer Support Guide
The Community capacity and peer support guide includes a common framework for developing formal and informal peer support options and how to put them into practice.
Realising the Value
More information about the successful implementation of peer support, can be found in the Realising the Value Programme, which was commissioned by NHS England.
Peer Support as a Career
Supporting people in a professional capacity allows for skills to be further developed with training, while gaining valuable experience in a guided environment. As a paid peer support worker, you will join the other members of someone’s care team to help support their wellbeing and providing inspiration and support for their recovery. The following information is from the NHS Health Careers website.
What Will I Do?
The role that peer support workers fulfil will depend on the type of service you are based in, but could include:
- working one to one with service users or patients
- helping to support individuals to develop goals
- supporting people in care planning
- helping people engage with activities
- supporting group work
- helping support people develop recovery plans
Where will I work?
You will work in both informal and formal settings. Informal settings could be in local drop-in groups and cafes for example, or you could work with third sector organisations and charities.Formal settings can include community, crisis, inpatient, criminal justice and recovery services.
Who will I work with?
You will work with a range of people who are living with mental health problems, either in hospital or in the community.
They will all be different, but what will connect you with them is your understanding of living with mental health problems yourself. You will also work with other members of a team, for example nurses, social workers, therapists and doctors. In some services, you may also work alongside people’s carers, families and friends.
The key element to being a peer support worker is having relevant lived experience for the service you wish to work in, wanting to support others going through similar experiences, and being able to receive training on how to work with people to do this.
What’s very important is that you’re in a good position to be able to use your lived experience and share this as appropriate in a positive way. You will also need good communication skills – both written and verbal – in your work with patients and service users.
Skills and personal characteristics needed
- open, honest and friendly
- good communication skills or willingness to develop these
- ability to use lived experience in a positive and appropriate way
- awareness of own personal recovery journey
- willingness to work as part of a team