Peer Support

This page brings together various resources that may be of use for user-led groups who do peer support as part of their activities. It contains recordings of shared learning sessions on online peer support, case studies of peer support groups, links to publications on peer support, and the Peer Support Charter, which was produced by a partnership in Sussex in 2018. You can find more resources on peer support through National Voices’ Peer Support Hub.

Shared Learning Sessions on Online Peer Support

Building Community Online: learning from online LGBTQ+ peer support

Developed with Switchboard, the National Survivor User Network and Mind, this shared learning session explored how online peer support spaces can benefit members of the LGBTQ+ community, and more broadly what community-building in online peer support spaces might look like.

The session was facilitated by Ruairi White, Switchboard’s Trans, Non-Binary and Intersex Survivors Project Lead, and Amy Wells, NSUN’s Communications and Membership Officer. This recording shows the presentation part of the session, with Ruairi feeding back on the two unrecorded group discussions that we had on the table of challenges/mitigations (timestamp 22:25​) and the concept of community building (52:10​).

This recording may be of interest to people who:

– Want to develop their online facilitation skills

– Want to improve access to their spaces for LGBTQ+ people

– Want to explore ways of offering peer support online that foreground community and connection.

Keeping a Safe Virtual Space in Online Peer Support

Developed with Taraki, the National Survivor User Network and Mind, this shared learning session explored safety, comfort and confidentiality in online peer support. Over the last year, many peer support projects have had to move online. This has created a number of opportunities as well as challenges for peer support.

This session was facilitated by Sandev Panaser and Amardeep Singh who facilitate online virtual forums for Taraki, an organisation providing mental health support and advocacy for people of Punjabi origin. They shared tips and suggestions on how to create a safe space and give confidence to those seeking and providing mental health peer support in this changing environment. This recording shows the presentation part of the session, with feedback on the group discussions that we had halfway through (22:10​).

These sessions were part of a short series of three shared learning sessions organised by NSUN in 2021 in partnership with Mind.

The third – with Make Space, on navigating the topic of self harm in online spaces – was not recorded, but you can read a reflection from Make Space here.

Peer Support Case Studies

Mind and NSUN have published five case studies (pre-COVID) of peer support models from across the UK, demonstrating the value of user-led organisations working at the interface with statutory services.

Canerows

Canerows peer support is based within the charity Sound Minds in South London. Sound Minds is a user-led charity seeking to transform the lives of people experiencing mental ill health through music, film and art. They describe themselves as ‘a thriving community bound together by creativity and a shared belief in mutual learning and peer support’.

Suicide Crisis Centre

The Suicide Crisis Centre was set up by Joy Hibbins and supports anyone in Gloucestershire who is feeling suicidal. In particular they aim to reach people who have disengaged with mental health services because services are not working for them; and people who would never access statutory services in the first place and need something different.

ReCoCo (Recovery College Collective)

ReCoCo is a user-led collaboration between service users and the voluntary and statutory sectors. ReCoCo brought together Newcastle Gateshead Recovery College and the user-led organisation Launchpad into a new organisation. ReCoCo has now been running for five years.

Leeds Mind

Leeds Mind works with two local NHS services: the Rehabilitation and Recovery Centre and three CMHTs. The Recovery Centre is provided through a partnership of Touchstone, Community Links and Leeds Mind – together with the Trust, so there are other third sector staff in the Centre. Leeds Mind provide the only peer support workers in the Centre. There are two inpatient units, so the peer support offers in-reach to the wards and post discharge support.

The CAPITAL Project Trust

The CAPITAL Project Trust is a user led organisation; founded in 1997, it is run by and for people with mental health issues across West Sussex. CAPITAL supports and trains people with mental health issues to enable them to be involved in improving services in a variety of ways.

To access Word document (plaintext) versions of the case studies, please use the following links:

Canerows
Suicide Crisis Centre
ReCoCo (Recovery College Collective)
Leeds Mind
CAPITAL

Peer Support Publications

We have published reports on Peer Support and Safety, Remote and Online Peer Support, Peer Support: Working with the VCSE sector and more. All of these can be found on our Publications & Tools page by clicking ‘peer support’ in the filter on the right hand side.

Peer Support Charter

Artwork by Lisa Holdcrot

A collaboration between statutory and voluntary sector organisations across Sussex facilitated the production of a peer led and produced ‘Principles of Peer Support’ Charter in 2018.

The Charter aims to promote the principles of peer support and the varied settings and diversity of approaches across communities. You can read more and download the Charter here.

Alison Faulkner wrote the report “Principled Ways of Working: Peer Support in Sussex” in 2020, resulting from a reflective exercise undertaken by the Principled Ways of Working partners reviewing their work producing the charter and mapping peer support in Sussex, and to discuss their achievements, the benefits and the challenges of their work on film. Some of the funding for the partnership accessed during 2019/2020 came from National Mind via NSUN, both of whom were interested in making the learning from the partnership more widely available, as the model can be replicated in local areas across the country. Please see below for a film that accompanied the report, focussing on the work of the PWoW partners: