Course Content
This session will introduce students to the course and through the use of exercises promote general discussion encouraging the students to begin to get to know each other. The session will cover confidentiality, participation, commitment and a general overview of the course. 
What is Recovery?
The aim of this session is to explore the development of the recovery approach in mental health and to examine key concepts in recovery and a range of factors that support recovery.
Personal Recovery
The aim of this session is to explore personal experience of mental health problems and recovery and consider how the key concepts and factors supporting recovery (covered in session 2) have impacted on your own story of recovery.
What is Peer Support?
Now that we have been introduced to recovery characteristics and developed an understanding of the things that can help and hinder that process, we are going to consider the role the role of peer support in more detail. Firstly, we will examine what we mean by a peer and we will then go on to consider the relationship between peer support and recovery.
The Peer Relationship
In this session we will examine in more detail the processes and practices of establishing peer relationships. We will build on our earlier learning about the role of mutuality and empowerment in peer relationships. There will be a focus on issues of power, choice and control in peer relationships.
Review and Evaluation
The aim of this session is to give candidates the opportunity to reflect on learning to date; provide support and feedback on the assessment task and to review the content to date. The first assessment task is a written assignment in essay format where students consider their personal recovery story in relation to the recovery approach and the role of peer support.
Use of Language and Communications
As peer supporters, the language we use and how we communicate are key to building good connections with the people we are supporting. This session will focus on how we use the language of recovery and our wider communication skills in the peer relationship. The language of recovery is designed to bring out the strengths and abilities of those in recovery. The aim of this session is to introduce candidates to elements of effective communication, including verbal and non-verbal communication, active listening and the use of recovery language, and to enable them to use these to foster an effective peer support relationship.
Using Your Experiences Effectively
One of the most effective ways to explain recovery to others is by people sharing their experiences. It brings to life the reality of recovery. This session builds on previous learning to enable peer supporters to develop their skills and experience in sharing their experiences in ways that are helpful. This sharing is often described as intentional.
Surviving and Thriving
The aim of this session is to look at approaches to working with people which focus on their strengths and capabilities and on building resilience. This will include examining the ways in which strengths based approach might validate and reframe experience and how it uses role modelling and hope to help individuals build resilience. Strengths based approaches are at the heart of peer support practice.
Positive Risk Taking and Boundaries
The aim of this session is to examine the implications of formalised peer support, encouraging students to examine the related concepts of boundaries, role tension and working with risk. The session will introduce the concept of positive risk taking and the approaches that can be used to help in this process. This will include examining the balance between risk and responsibility in the peer relationship. As part of this, students will deal with the difficult topics of trauma, suicidality and risk.
Review and Evaluation
The aim of this session is to give candidates time to review and evaluate the course and their experience of it, and to finish off any outstanding work. it is an opportunity to reflect on learning, discuss experiences and discuss the final assignment.
Useful Resources
Peer Support Training
About Lesson

It has become an increasingly important policy goal for governments to support people who experience long-term conditions to better manage their health and wellbeing. This has come with the recognition that better self-management can not only reduce the strain on hard pressed health and care providers, but can also promote a greater degree of self-direction and
control amongst people experiencing health and other difficulties.


It is through self-management that many people gain the confidence, skills and knowledge to better manage their mental health and gain more control of their lives at a time when they may feel they have lost control.


Sometimes people use self-management skills without realising it, but formal self-management skills can be learnt on courses. These are sometimes run  by people with direct experience of mental ill health. Some examples of structured self-management tools and training are:


WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Planning)


WRAP was first developed by a group of people in the USA, and is a structured framework that brought together the tools the group had been using to stay well and support them through difficult times. The possibility of recovery is at the heart of WRAP, which is built around five key recovery concepts; hope, personal responsibility, education, self-advocacy and support. WRAP is a planning process that involves assessing self-help tools and resources, and then using those tools and resources to develop plans for staying well. It includes:


  • a personal wellness toolbox
  • a daily maintenance list
  • identifying triggers, early warning signs and when things are breaking down
  • crisis and post-crisis planning


WRAP is best experienced in a group environment where a trained peer facilitator encourages and supports mutual learning; promoting that group members are experts in themselves. 


Living Life to the Full


The ‘Living Life to the Full’ courses use the self-help format of helping you to help yourself. They also use the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) model that helps people to develop the life skills they need to tackle feelings of low mood, stress and distress. The courses have been developed by Dr Chris Williams, a Professor of Psychiatry and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at the University of Glasgow. He has developed written and computerbased self-help treatments for anxiety, depression and bulimia, and is a well-known trainer and teacher.


‘Living Life to the Full’ is delivered in group settings and online.


Bipolar Scotland Self-Management Training Programme


Bipolar Scotland developed this training programme as one way of enabling people affected by bipolar disorder to take control of their lives. It helps people to understand how their own mental health problems affect them and how they can recognise the early signs and prevent or minimise the impact of an episode of ill health. The courses are delivered by accredited peer trainers who have experience of living with bipolar disorder.


The programme is built around three themes:


  1. Recognition — what triggers a crisis in their own mental health and what are the warning signs of a possible crisis.
  2. Action — creating an action plan and identifying coping strategies, self- medication and support networks.
  3. Maintenance —preparing an advance agreement and looking at lifestyle choices.
Exercise Files
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