People with experience of accessing mental health services wanted for peer support roles

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Published on: 30th October 2020

Individuals with experience of having, or supporting someone with mental health difficulties are being encouraged to use their experience to support young people and families using mental health services.

Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is recruiting peer support workers for its mental health services for children and young people, and is keen for those with ‘lived experience’ of accessing services as a young person or parent/carer, and a passion for working with young people and families, to apply.

Peer support roles are designed for individuals who want to use their own experience of mental health problems to help support others who are going through difficult times. Roles are currently being advertised in the Lincoln/Louth and Boston area.

Amy Butler, Service Manager for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), explained: “A peer support worker can offer something extra that we as trained mental health professionals perhaps can’t. Their shared experience and stories of recovery can help current patients, and their families feel that somebody out there truly understands, which instils hope of recovery.

“As a peer support worker’s knowledge comes from personal experience rather than professional training, they can also help bridge the ‘them and us’ divide that can sometimes worry the young people we care for. The young people we work with tell us that they value being able to speak to somebody who they can relate to and who has been through something similar to them.”

The peer support workers will provide emotional and practical support to young people and/or their families, building positive relationships and helping them to discover their strengths and feel hopeful about the future. They are also instrumental in encouraging young people and parent/carers to get involved in projects and opportunities to improve the wider CAMHS services.

Abbie Futter, CAMHS Peer Support and Involvement Lead, added: “We receive no end of positive feedback from our service users about the benefits of peer support. However, this is the first time we have opened up peer support roles to parent/carers with experience of supporting their child through mental health services. We hope this goes some way in recognising the pivotal role parents/carers play in supporting their children’s mental health, and the emotional impact of caring for a child experiencing emotional distress. 

“We are looking for applicants who are passionate about mental health and advocating for the views of young people and their families.”

Applications must be made online at www.jobs.nhs.uk by 10 November. To find out more, contact Abbie Futter on 01522 535189 or email abbie.futter@nhs.net. Alternatively, email jobs.lpft@nhs.net

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