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Peer Support Workers

The importance of peers supporting one another is not overlooked by the Partnership. Not only do we offer a large variety of Peer Support groups but we all offer volunteer and paid opportunities to be a peer supporter.

What is Peer Support?

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. It is about truly understanding another person’s situation through the shared experience” (Mead, 2003).

The ethos of peer support is about sharing stories with compassion, honesty, and empathy to help other people who are struggling with similar things.

What does a Peer Support Worker do?

Peer Support Workers are people who have lived experience of mental health challenges and who use these experiences to help others on their recovery journey. They offer an empathetic ear, hold hope, and show that a diagnosis doesn’t have to define a person. They can say truthfully “it can, and it will, get better; I am living proof of that”.

Duties will vary depending on which department a Peer Support Worker is based, but they will likely include: facilitating activity and discussion groups, working one-to-one with patients to help with goal-setting, social activity and building strong working relationships with staff. Peer Support Workers will be encouraged to draw on their existing skills and interests and there will be some scope for individuals to tailor the roles to their interests.

Why is Peer Support important?

Having Peer Support Workers has many potential benefits, not only to the team they work in but also to the organisation. Peer Support Workers can introduce and improve recovery-focussed, strengths-based practices into teams, which can lead to more recovery-minded staff, ultimately benefiting service users.

Working with a Peer Support Worker can give people hope as they can see that it does get better. This can, in turn, lead to fewer and shorter hospital admissions with more people living in the community whilst on their recovery journey.

Volunteering

Oxfordshire Mind offer the opportunity to volunteer as a Peer Supporter at their Peer Support groups. If you have personal experience of mental ill-health and are willing to share your experience with others, you will likely make a great Peer Supporter.

Find out more about the process.

Expert By Experience

Oxfordshire Mind offer an opportunity to be an Expert By Experience. Sharing your own story is a great way to help others going through similar mental health problems. They’re always looking for current and previous Oxfordshire Mind service users who would be willing to share their story to raise awareness, challenge stigma around mental health, improve services, and give their point of view about the work they do.

As an Oxfordshire Mind Expert by Experience you can choose to:

  • Give public talks about your experiences in the local community
  • Share your story on our website or social media
  • Share your expert viewpoint at Oxfordshire Mind workshops
  • Be involved in campaigning
  • Give talks at Oxfordshire Mind staff training

Don’t worry if you’ve never done anything like this before – you’ll have an informal interview before getting started where we’ll talk to you about what support you might need. You’ll also receive monthly group supervisions and training, as well receiving an involvement payment and reimbursed travel expenses.

Paid Role

Oxford Health are looking to train and employ Peer Support Workers to join us in all our Oxfordshire Adult Inpatient & Community teams.

From April 2018, staff at Oxford Health will be offering free Peer Support training to those interested in the Peer Support Worker roles.

The roles are suited to people with lived (first-hand) experience of poor mental health, who are willing and able to draw on their own experiences to help others on their recovery journey.

People who complete the training will be able to apply for paid Peer Support Worker jobs in all our Oxfordshire Adult Inpatient and Community teams.

Interested in becoming a paid Peer Support Worker?

If you or someone you know is interested in these exciting new roles, please get in touch to express your interest.

Step 1) Register your interest by emailing peersupport@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk you will then be added to our mailing list and we will contact you when we are next recruiting.

Step 2) We are advising potential applicants to undertake some preliminary training through the local Recovery College, we recommend enrolling on two half-day courses:

  • Introduction to Recovery
  • Understanding Mental Health

Of course, if there are other courses that you’re interested in studying as well that’s great but not a necessity.

Learn more about the Oxfordshire Recovery College.

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