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 NHS England (NHSE) 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 IMROC course is brilliant I have learnt so much. The tutor has been great every time I have had any questions I have emailed him and he's got back to me straight away. Every step and training is in detail and explained thoroughly. We have a brilliant team and everyone values each other’s journey. There is so much I can take away with me and offer support to my clients in the community.

- Syeria, Peer Support Worker and training completer, 2024

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.

I feel that having Peer Support Workers within the Trust is very beneficial, because they bring their authentic self based on lived experience(s).  Therefore having more of a connection when working with client(s) and also a better understanding of what they are going through. 


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...

Meet our Peer Support Workers

Take a look at what some of our Peer Support Workers have to say about their role. 

What does your role as a Peer Support Worker entail?

I share my lived experience of psychosis with other service users who are currently being supported by the EIS in psychosis team. This is the same team that supported me during my 3 year recovery.

I offer peer support alongside a HCP from the team who knows the person well (usually their care co-ordinator). The HCP is there to mostly observe and provide support if needed to myself or the service user. The sessions are usually about an hour long and is very much directed by the service user and their needs. The sessions are set up to provide a safe, non-judgemental space for service users to share their personal experience of psychosis with someone who has experienced something similar. The aim is that this will help people feel less alone, and provide people with the hope needed to support them on their recovery journey.

What is your favourite thing about being a Peer Support Worker?

Having the opportunity to meet other people from all different walks of life and hearing their unique stories of experiencing psychosis. The connection made when we share our stories is so powerful and incredibly healing for both myself and the service user. 

What have you learned since your role started?

I have learnt the importance of looking after my own mental health and wellbeing in my role as a peer supporter. Having a debrief session with the HCP after each peer support session has helped massively, especially when difficult and potentially triggering topics have come up in conversation with service users. My supervisor also often checks in on me to see how I’m getting on in my role. Her support has played an instrumental role in helping me stay well within my role.

Have you ever received Peer Support and how did this improve your recovery?

I never had the opportunity to receive peer support during my recovery although I felt it would have been extremely helpful. This was the main reason that I offered to become a peer support volunteer following my discharge from the EIS. I strongly felt that peer support  was needed in the service to provide hope for those recovering from their first psychotic episode.

What has been your greatest Peer Support success to date?

One moment that stands out for me, is when a service user said that sharing her story with me had given her the confidence to talk to her mother for the first time about her experience of psychosis. She told me that this was a real breakthrough moment in their relationship which help her on her road to recovery.

What would you say to others who are considering going in to Peer Support work?

It can be a very rewarding and life affirming role but make sure that you have the necessary support from the team you work with because peer support can at times be challenging.  When working with people who have experienced trauma and are often mentally unwell it can be emotionally draining and potentially trigger your own mental health issues. Regular supervision and support from the team is vital to help you stay well within your role.

What does your role as a Peer Support Worker entail?

Using my lived experiences of mental health issues to help support people under the CMHT to prepare for employment. Guiding people towards their own solutions and helping them to discover what they can do to manage their mental health. Offering hope that recovery and employment are achievable goals and helping to validate their thoughts and emotions.

What is your favourite thing about being a Peer Support Worker?

It is so hard to choose my favourite thing about being a Peer Support Worker as I love every aspect of the role. 

I guess the main thing would have to be that all my negative experiences are now used in a positive way. If others can benefit from my experience, then it is somehow worth it. 

I feel I am naturally good at connecting with people on an emotional level and I get so much pleasure and satisfaction from knowing that I can offer others some comfort. It is so cathartic for myself and has aided me so much on my own path to recovery.

What have you learned since your role started?

I have learned so much since starting this role. I understand a lot more about how the mental health system works and how it is structured. I am continuing my professional development by attending as much training as possible and completing my own research into topics that interest me. 

But more importantly, I have learned more about myself, my own recovery, and how to manage my condition. I have learnt how to cope when things don’t go to plan, not to be afraid to ask for help, and how to manage my workload. 

What has been your greatest Peer Support success to date?

Someone recently said to me in a text ‘thanks for all your support. It’s invaluable.’  Those few words meant the world to me. 

What would you say to others who are considering going into Peer Support work? 

Go for it!!! 

It helps to make sure you are emotionally prepared as you will likely have to look back upon your darkest experiences. It is not a role for the faint hearted! 

It is so important to have a support network, a wellness plan, and to be open and honest when you are struggling with your own mental health. You cannot support someone else if you are not prepared mentally. You must learn to look after yourself before you can look after others. It is also important to be aware of your own emotional vulnerabilities, and how to protect yourself from psychological harm. 

What does your role as a Peer Support Worker entail?

We support parents and carers of young people accessing Derby City and Southern Derbyshire CAMHS. 

Often, our parents and carers feel completely out of their depth and wonder how they can best support their child experiencing mental health challenges. The action to take seems much more obvious for physical health, but with mental health challenges, parents question whether they are doing the right thing and feel out of control and helpless, sometimes judged and overwhelmed with the pressure and vigilance to minimise risk and aid their child’s recovery.

We currently offer peer support in two ways via our Parent2parent service, whereby we facilitate a fortnightly online group session run by lived experience parents for other parent and carers. Here we encourage a safe, relaxed and non-judgemental space to listen, validate and share experiences, tips and ideas. Everyone is welcome to contribute and their points are equally valid. 

For more targeted support, we offer a 1:1 telephone support call service, where we have time to get into more detail and specifics of parent and carer challenges, explore their support networks, promote wellbeing and their own mental health and, perhaps above all, inspire hope that things can and will improve with the right support. 

What is your favourite thing about being a Peer Support Worker?

Meeting people – understanding, learning and reflecting on perspectives from a diverse range of parent and carers. It takes strength to seek support, but many people we chat with just feel at such a low point. Having been there several times myself, it is an amazing feeling to be listened to, validated, and realise you aren’t isolated and there is no shame in reaching out and receiving support. To have someone alongside you, possibly helping you to navigate the system and provide hope means absolutely everything in that moment.

What have you learned since your role started?

I have learned lots – both in the sense of the job itself and myself personally! I always try to prioritise and promote the individual parent or carer view and experience. It’s easy to direct and advise on the basis of your own experiences, but that is not peer support. It’s about validating and helping people make sense of their experiences and understand how this shapes their views, aspirations and actions. It is also imperative to be aware of and minimise any bias.

Have you ever received Peer Support and how did this improve your recovery?

Yes and it can literally be life changing or even life saving! To no longer feel complete isolation, to connect with other parents experiencing similar issues, reduce stigma, and listen to stories with such hopeful conclusions is completely liberating. You begin feeling more empowered and positive that things can and will improve and you can regain confidence and take decisions and actions that can aid your child’s recovery journey.  

What has been your greatest Peer Support success to date?

I am so grateful to be able to reach out to other families and provide them with support when they need it – the thanks I receive is overwhelming at times - I have literally had parents shrieking down the telephone with relief and gratitude. 

One particular conversation I recall well involved a Mother who was at a very low ebb. Her job was in jeopardy due to the time she had taken off work to support her son with mental health challenges and neurodiversity and her own mental health and wellbeing was suffering. She was battling to get her son the right support both in terms of health and education. She was particularly struggling with getting him to school each day and felt judged continually by school (and other professionals) if he did not make it in on time, if at all.  She also felt very guilty if she finally got her him there, leaving him visibly upset. 

Every day she felt intolerable pressure trying to do the right thing, supporting her son physically, emotionally and financially. In the course of chatting for about an hour – she squealed so loudly and said of all the conversations she had endured with professionals in the last two years – this was so amazing and she literally felt much of the pressure had been lifted off her through our one conversation! She had formed a clear action plan for herself going forwards. How amazing and privileged I feel to be able to facilitate such a positive change for someone!

What would you say to others who are considering going in to Peer Support work? 

As a carer for two people, I can’t always commit to fixed hours work, but this role has flexibility. 

It’s amazing – so much more rewarding and therapeutic for me than just getting a paid at the end of the month. It provides a fabulous opportunity to connect with other people, keep learning and reflecting on your experiences and practice to further develop your skills and ability to help others. It definitely helps me with my own family recovery journey too. You do need to be mindful to look after yourself and ensure you have effective support and supervision as the work can be triggering and emotionally challenging at times, but for me, the benefits definitely outweigh this. 

What does your role as a Peer Support Worker entail?

My role is supporting clients to gain confidence in thinking about paid employment to enable them to achieve their goals and sharing experiences to give clients hope. 

Being guided by the client what they would like to achieve from their appointments and listening to them while remaining non-judgemental. 

What is your favourite thing about being a Peer Support Worker?

Seeing clients gaining confidence and hearing them overcoming difficulties and challenges. I love being a support for someone and seeing them achieve their goals. 

What have you learned since your role started?

I have learnt so much. I have learned that people sometimes need support in different ways and want to achieve different things and that success is measured in so many ways. Really listening to know clients and knowing what to say and understanding that everyone struggles with different issues and how I might deal with those different scenarios. 

What has been your greatest Peer Support success to date?

Meeting my first client and seeing her confidence grow over the weeks. seeing her believe in herself more and more each week was amazing!

What would you say to others who are considering going into Peer Support work? 

Definitely go for it, it is such a rewarding job. 

It feels great to know I’m helping someone gain confidence to think about going back into employment. Being a part of a client’s recovery feels amazing and using my own experiences gives clients hope. It makes me feel great that I go to work and hopefully made a difference to someone and make clients feel more hopeful about their future.  

It’s just a great feeling to be part of the team that supported me back into employment and I love sharing my experience with clients on how positive it’s been for me. 


  • 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:

Peer Support and Lived Experience Coordinator (Inpatient) - 
Peer Support and Lived Experience Coordinator -
Peer Support Development -