Peer support worker Aideen-Niamh sets out on latest journey helping others

The peer support worker will draw on her own experience to support people at new Keystone Mental Health & Wellbeing Hub to be opened by Frank Bruno this week

Peer support worker Aideen-Niamh sets out on latest journey helping others

People who have experienced mental health challenges and have used local mental health services have been at the heart of the creation of a new Keystone Mental Health & Wellbeing hub opening this week.

Boxing legend Frank Bruno MBE is set to cut the ribbon on newest mental health and wellbeing centre on Friday.

And Aideen-Niamh O’Neill is to begin a new role as a peer support worker at the hub after being involved in its creation.

Aideen-Niamh will be working with people experiencing mental health challenges. As a peer support worker she has experienced mental health challenges herself and is in a unique position to offer advice, support and inspire others as they improve their wellbeing.

As a member of Oxford Health’s patient experience forum Our Voice Aideen-Niamh and other people who use mental health service locally highlighted the need to improved services to support people with ongoing mental health challenges in the community. She also directly collaborate in the creation of the hub that she now works in.

She said: “I’m on the Our Voice forum. The idea is that you apply because you have mental health challenges. We were told about the Community Mental Health Framework hubs. We suggested to have the name Keystone and we helped to bring in the health and wellbeing part of the name. That was all from Our Voice which is quite exciting because we’re starting to be recognised as experts by experience. It’s really lovely to be part of the decision-making, especially when it could actually affect you, and you can see the outcomes of those decisions.

“The idea of peer support is that you’re able to apply because you already have mental health challenges, which is quite a unique thing. Normally it can be seen as a barrier but the peer support role opens up that barrier and breaks it down.

“So it’s really exciting to see the full circle from where I started to where I am finishing now. My journey will always continue, but just to be able to pay it forward, all the support I got I can now help someone else hopefully achieve that as well, I feel really excited about it.

“I’m really compassionate and passionate about mental health. I’ve lived with it a very long time, I’ve lived with it the best part of my life so I know what it feels like. I’m really excited to be able to support others when I get into my role.”

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Published: 22 November 2022