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First Peer Support Workers complete their training
27/06/2014

Our Trust's first Peer Support Workers are looking forward to working in the community this summer. They have received practical and theory based training, with many commenting on the benefits this has had for their own wellbeing, as well as their prospects for future employment.

Peer Support Workers are employed specifically as a result of their lived experience of mental health issues; either personally or as a carer. They complement the Trust’s mental health worker expertise with their insight and experience and are a crucial part of the Trust’s commitment to the recovery model, which aims to help those who’ve experienced mental illness achieve personal recovery goals and aspirations.

Eleven Peer Support Workers completed their training at Hellesdon Hospital in June and a further seven, based at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, are set to finish in mid-July. This coincides with the release of the first Peer Support Worker vacancies at the Trust.

Peer Support Worker Co-ordinator, Justine Brown, said: “We had over 80 applicants to become the first Peer Support Workers,” explained “As well as lived experience of mental health issues, applicants needed to demonstrate an understanding of their own mental health condition and an understanding of recovery. They also needed a desire to give something back and a compassionate attitude.”

Michael, a former service user at the Trust, said: “I feel that my place on the Peer Support Worker training course has been due to my drive and determination to support and assist clients on their individual recovery journeys. The course has been hugely rewarding on a personal and a professional level. It’s allowed me to start to build on my lived experience by giving me some valuable skills which I now use everyday, as well as on placement.”

The next group of Peer Support Workers will begin their training in October and it’s expected that the Trust will run the training programme up to three times a year, depending on demand, as further posts become available. The Peer Support Worker course is open to people who have experienced mental health problems themselves or as a carer.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a Peer Support Worker please email Justine Brown, Peer Support Worker Co-ordinator at justine.brown@nsft.nhs.uk