Our peer support

At West Sussex Mind, we value peer support – when people use their own experiences to help each other. We also offer those getting support with us the opportunity to train as peer volunteers

At West Sussex Mind, we place a high value on peer support – when people use their own experiences to help each other.

We use this model across many of our group support sessions, where you can connect with others who are experiencing similar problems as part of your recovery journey. This enables you to share experiences and give and receive support in a safe space where you feel accepted and understood – with sessions mediated by a mental health support worker.

It also offers social opportunities to connect with people outside the confines of the group should you wish to do so.

The value of lived experience

Not everyone working at West Sussex Mind has lived experience of mental health issues, and we recognise that we have a great deal to learn from people who do. This is why we actively recruit paid peer support workers and peer support volunteers to work across our organisation.

We have peer support workers with lived experience working in our adults, families and young people services and are looking to extend this to other services. See the video below to understand how this enrichens the support we provide.

Peer volunteering for service users

We also offer opportunities for our service users to support others and become peer volunteers themselves.

When they feel ready, and after discussion with their recovery worker, some service users support others in recovery, working with individuals to set goals and provide reassurance and practical support. This might be anything from attending a psychiatric appointment with someone or accompanying someone who is struggling with anxiety on a shopping trip.

"Being a peer mentor has allowed me to like me. It has given me a real sense of self-worth"

Nick Kidd, volunteer peer mentor

Peer volunteering can be a good way for service users to develop their own skills and confidence. There’s an opportunity to do a course with West Sussex Mind.

Many of our service users have gained valuable skills and self-esteem by becoming peer volunteers with West Sussex Mind – and satisfaction from helping others who are struggling with their mental health.

If you are interested in finding out more about our peer volunteer training and working with our service users in a voluntary capacity, email volunteering@westsussexmind.org

We're a member of Pathfinder West Sussex

As a member of Pathfinder West Sussex, our support hubs are linked to a network of mental health services across the county. Pathfinder West Sussex is an alliance of organisations working together to enable people with mental health support needs, and their carers, to improve their mental health and well-being.

> pathfinderwestsussex.org.uk

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