At Derbyshire Healthcare, we believe that there is no better person to support the journey towards recovery than someone who has walked the same path.

At the Peer Support Hub, we can assist you with the following:

  • Training for Peer Support Workers, their supervisors and their teams
  • Team readiness advice and workshops
  • Job coaching for those interested in Peer roles
  • Recruitment of Peer Support Workers
  • Advice and group meetings for Peer Support Workers
  • Resources for Peers and their teams
  • Advice regarding apprenticeships in the Trust

What is peer support?

The ethos of peer support is sharing lived experience with compassion, honesty and empathy to help other people who are experiencing their own struggles and distress.

Our peer support workers provide formalised peer support and practical assistance to service users in order for them to regain control over their lives and their own unique recovery process.

We enable our peer support workers to engage with mental health service users to show empathy, share experience, inspire hope and promote recovery with the aim of assisting individuals to gain and maintain independence in the community.

What are the benefits?

Peer support is very effective for people who suffer with mental health issues and these positive effects are often felt by both the peer support worker and the individual they are working with.

Research shows that peer support helps a person’s wellbeing, meaning they build better self-esteem, confidence, social skills and independence. It also leads to reduced reliance on clinical services, fewer hospital stays and sustained recovery in the future.

For peer support workers themselves it gives a huge sense of personal achievement and reward, as well as continued learning, communication skills and empathy.

What training is available?

We provide training opportunities to people who would like to become peer support workers, or who would like to develop these skills to assist them in their chosen area of work.

Our close partnership with Health Education England (HEE) offers all of our peer support workers and their supervisors access to funded training programmes which help hone and refine knowledge and skills. Trainees can then apply what they learn in their workplace with clients and service users and see the positive impact this has on recovery.

The peer principles which I incorporated from our ImROC training meant that barriers that clients are encountering may be challenged together, which empowers our clients on their personal journey through recovery. Engaging with clients also benefited my personal recovery, in a reciprocal manner, providing a opportunity to explore my own journey.

- Chris, Peer Support Worker and ImROC completer, 2021.

Watch a video

Watch a short video where Georgie, our Peer Support Development Worker, explains what the ImROC Peer Support training is all about.

Testimonials - How Peer Support helps

Take a look at what some of those with experience have to say about the Peer Support Hub.

Our service has been enhanced immeasurably by our Peer Support Workers; they can offer something that services/healthcare professionals can’t, which is the empathy that comes with having been in the client’s situation and having felt how they felt. They offer this unique perspective to develop trust and work with people on a deeper level and it’s just beautiful to see! They can also support the therapeutic relationship between the nurse and client, by being the person who has trusted the process and come out the other side. They can also show the client that life really does not end because of mental health issues.

And the incredible thing is this is achieved just by them being themselves…new PSWs can feel anxious that they have to be a certain way…but this is achieved by just being present, honest and sharing their experience. Their value cannot be understated.

My peer support worker has been excellent for me. He's incredibly understanding, can empathise with my thoughts, feelings and concerns. Without going into detail, he always was able to show me in a few words that he completely understands where I'm coming from.

Not only that, he always had great replies to help make me feel ok about things, but more importantly, he was able to suggest different approaches and ways of thinking that I hadn't considered before. I always took his suggestions onboard and tried all the ones that I felt comfortable with and they really did help me. Sometimes just having a different way of thinking really helped, and other times trying the practical things helped.

Peer Supporters and peer support groups are at the heart of our service. Over the past year we have seen a big change with engagement in peer support due to the isolation of the pandemic, the groups have become much more of a lifeline to the world outside for those who have been isolating. We have had an increase over the past year in those wanting to be involved and become Peer Supporters. Peer Support within Derbyshire has developed and grown, and now, even with a pandemic, we have seen first-hand that within the groups, the Peer Supporters are so widely valued and a much needed for the individuals and the groups that they are involved with.

As a Peer Support Worker I found that our clients could be open and honest as peers which may not happen in a clinical environment. The peer principles which I incorporated from our ImRoc training meant that barriers that clients are encountering may be challenged together, which empowers our clients on their personal journey through recovery. The Peer principles also mean that engaging with clients benefited my personal recovery, in a reciprocal manner, providing a opportunity to explore my own journey.

A highlight of my time as a Peer Support Worker would be working with a client who was struggling with their mental health, rarely leaving their house. Over a number of sessions walking along side this client, we built up their confidence and challenged their barriers. After two months the client was working with an Employment Specialist and in paid employment.

 

Blogs

Keep up to date with the latest from the Peer Support Hub via our latest blog posts.

Research by the Mental Health Foundation shows that peer support can significantly improve people’s wellbeing, meaning they have fewer hospital stays, larger support networks, and better self-esteem and social skills. 

It’s often said that there is nobody better qualified to understand a person’s hardship than someone who has lived with the same thing. That sharing of experiences, thoughts and behaviours is unreplicable, providing a unique bond from which to build a strong peer to peer relationship.  

One of the reasons the vacancy appealed to me was that I had walked the same path as those I would be employed to work with and could offer an empathetic viewpoint and unique perspective. 

I now want to share my experiences and what worked for me with a view to making a positive impact on others in a similar position. 

Continue reading...

In 2019, as I was approaching the end of my discharge from the Early Intervention Service (EIS), I began to form the idea that perhaps through peer support, I could share my own story of psychosis and my journey to recovery to help others feel less alone. However, I was filled with many doubts, ‘Would I be good enough? What if no one wants peer support? What if no one finds it useful? Will it be too distressing for me to hear other people’s stories?

Continue reading Amanda's story here...

I’m so excited to start as the new Peer Support Development Worker for Derbyshire Healthcare.

Having spent the last six months in the Work Your Way team helping people with mental health conditions to gain employment, my belief in the value of peer support is greater than ever. I feel so passionate and prepared to enhance the presence of it throughout the Trust.

Continue reading about our first six months here...

Resources

  • Peer Support Worker toolkit
    This booklet has been created to support new peer support workers in their roles. This booklet was created in partnership with Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Nottinghamshire Healthcare colleagues to help new starters in their journey of becoming a peer within the NHS.
    Download the Peer Support Worker toolkit
  • Sharing your story
    It may be helpful to have an idea of what you would like to share with others about yourself before going
    out and meeting the clients who you will be supporting. This is often referred to as sharing your own
    personal story of recovery.​​​​​​​​
    Download the sharing your story document
  • Strengths based approach
    This approach will enable us to look at a person’s life holistically, considering their needs in the context of their skills, ambitions and priorities.
    Download the strengths based approach document
  • Team preparation list
    Introducing Peer Support Workforce into Mental health Teams - a preparation list
    Download the team preparation list
  • The eight core principles of Peer Support
    These principles describe the core philosophy and values of peer support. It will help to keep
    developing your understanding of these as you progress in the role.
    Download the eight core principles of Peer Support
  • Wellness in the role
    It is important to be mindful of your own mental health whilst in work which will enable us to be able to support people through their own recovery.
    Download the wellness in the role document
  • Where to focus our peer skills
    Guidance on where to 'lean towards' and 'lean away' from when using peer skills.
    Download the where to focus our peer skills document

Get in touch

For more information about Peer Support at Derbyshire Healthcare please contact Georgina.Lazzari@nhs.net or Rebecca.Willday2@nhs.net