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Peer work

Informal peer support has always been provided by friends, family and peers. In recent years however, the sharing of lived experience has been increasingly recognised as an integral, complementary part of the recovery journey in mental health.

While there is no one, universally accepted definition of peer support. Shery Mead offers the following:

"Peer support is a system of giving and receiving help founded on key principles of respect, shared responsibility, and mutual agreement of what is helpful. Peer support is not based on psychiatric models and diagnostic criteria. It is about understanding another’s situation empathically through the shared experience of emotional and psychological pain. When people find affiliation with others they feel are 'like' them, they feel a connection. This connection, or affiliation, is a deep, holistic understanding based on mutual experience where people are able to 'be' with each other without the constraints of traditional (expert/patient) relationships." (Mead, 2001)

Mind supports peer work through a number of different initiatives:  

Centre of Excellence in Peer Support

The Centre of Excellence in Peer Support (CEPS) provides a centralised specialist clearinghouse and online resource centre for mental health peer support. It has been set up in response to the growing interest in and recognition of peer support work. The website provides access to a wide range of research and resources for consumers, families/carers, mental health staff and service providers. The CEPS Project Officer is also available to provide individualised support.

Click here to visit the Centre of Excellence in Peer Support website.

Charter of Peer Support

The Charter of Peer Support was developed to ensure that peer support services are available to consumers and carers when and where it was needed. Written by people with a lived experience of mental distress and recovery, the Charter outlines the growing evidence base for peer work, and calls for continued recognition and development of peer support services in mental health. It highlights the unique nature of peer support in providing an unmatched source of expertise, hope and inspiration, empowering people to move forward in their own recovery journeys.  

Click here for more information about the Charter of Peer Support.

Training modules

In line with the Centre of Excellence in Peer Support's aim to promote knowledge sharing, three training modules were developed to aid organisations or individuals in establishing and operating peer support services or groups.

Click here to download training module Considerations when Setting Up a Peer Support Group.

Click here to download training module Considerations When Setting Up a Peer Support Service.

Click here to download training module Considerations When Operating a Peer Support Service.

Peer work training

Mind has developed a five day award winning peer work training course that builds confidence in Peer Workers around the basic skills, knowledge, attitudes and values appropriate for work in the mental health field.  We also have a One Day Workshop titled Becoming a Mental Health Peer Worker. 

For more information about these courses click here.

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