Peer work does something unique and valuable - it harnesses the lived experience of mental ill-health and recovery to support others and foster hope.
Here you'll find information about how that happens.
Informal peer support has always been provided by friends, family and through support groups. In recent years however, the sharing of lived experience has been increasingly recognised as an integral, complementary part of the recovery journey in mental health.
While there is no one, universally accepted, definition of peer support, Shery Mead offers the following:
"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. Peer support is not based on psychiatric models and diagnostic criteria. It is about understanding another’s situation empathically through the shared experience of emotional and psychological pain. When people find affiliation with others they feel are 'like' them, they feel a connection. This connection, or affiliation, is a deep, holistic understanding based on mutual experience where people are able to 'be' with each other without the constraints of traditional (expert/patient) relationships." (Mead, 2001)
Mind supports peer work through a number of different initiatives outlined here.