North East Together (Net) is the network of mental health service user and carer groups and individuals across the North East of England
Jan Turner is employed 2 days per week, in the role of Peer Support Co-coordinator in the Redcar and Cleveland area and is currently looking for volunteers to help within the project, and participants to attend groups.
Anyone who is interested in gaining experience of working in a mental health setting would be welcome to apply – especially people who have themselves experienced mental distress or have an interest in mental health issues.
Jan is setting up 2 self-help groups, based in Loftus and Guisborough, where members have a shared experience and can give and receive support in a safe environment. In this context, the shared experience is mental distress and the aim is to help each other towards improved mental health.
There is some flexibility in respect of the ‘mechanics’ of the groups e.g. focus how often to meet, where and when etc, and groups will develop in response to members’ identified needs.
The group agreement/ rules will always involve confidentiality, in accordance with safeguarding procedures and respect for each other’s views.
Groups would have the potential to operate on an open ‘drop-in’ basis or they can be ‘closed’ groups. The latter may have been formed by a group of individuals who have previously met during group therapy courses organised by the Health Services or other Mental Health related groups. Groups can be very focused on mental health support or can be more of a social opportunity. Of course, there is no reason why an effective group cannot embrace practical support and social contact.
“It means sharing our vulnerabilities and our strengths and finding value in each other’s help.”
MacNeil and Mead (2003) Discovering the fidelity standards of peer support.
“Peer support is not like clinical support. In peer support we understand each other because we’ve been there, shared similar experiences.”
Copeland, Mary Ellen and Mead, Shery (2004) Wellness Recovery Plan and 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.”
Mead, Shery and MacNeil, Cheryl; Peer support, a systemic approach.
Why Peer Support could help…
- It is reassuring to meet others who are experiencing just the same kind of feelings; to know you are not the only one
- When everyone is in “the same boat” it is easier to feel trusting, accepted and understood; the support is relaxed and mutual
- There is an opportunity to give as well as receive support, which can make you feel better about yourself
- It is encouraging to hear about self-help tips that have worked for other people and to have the support of the group to try them out yourself
- It can be easier to socialise in a supportive environment and being part of the peer network means there can be people within reach that you can contact
- There isn’t any pressure; it is ok to participate in whatever way you are able, knowing it is very likely that others will understand any difficulties
You are welcome to be part of Peer Support whether or not you are currently receiving support such as counselling or other therapies. It could offer some interim support while you are waiting for other services, it could provide some ongoing support afterwards. If you are already receiving support then Peer Support could complement this.
Please contact Jan Turner either by email at Or Mobile: 07505769996
If you have any queries, suggestions, if you are interested in attending or are aware of services/service users for whom this may be useful.