for better mental health

Side by Side Cymru

This page is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

Peer support in your community

Peer support is when people use their own experiences to help each other. There are different types of peer support, but they all aim to:

  • bring together people with shared experiences to support each other
  • provide a space where you feel accepted and understood
  • treat everyone's experiences as being equally important
  • involve both giving and receiving support.

"The support was mutual. When I was going through a low patch, I often received reassurance and kind words."

In peer support everyone's views and experiences are equally valued, rather than anyone being seen as more of an expert than others. How much support you give and receive can vary depending on what feels right for you at different times.

Making peer support available in Wales

Thanks to support from the Welsh Government, Mind Cymru in partnership with four local Minds, led the Side by Side Cymru programme to improve the availability and quality of peer support in the community. Since 2018, the Side by Side Cymru programme has reached 381 peer leaders across 4 areas of Wales. The peer leaders we worked with went on to provide peer support to at least 3,800 people in Wales. 

Our local Minds have been supporting groups in the following areas:

Our findings 

From the beginning of Side by Side Cymru we have worked with MEL Research to evalute the programme. From the research they did, we now know that more than 9 in 10 peer leaders (95%) who got invovled with the programme felt more confident about delivering peer support. Over half (59%) said that they quality of their peer support has increased, and 1 in 2 (49%) told us that the programme has helped imporved their knowledge which will help them in the future.

"The session was very valuable for our volunteers as it validated the work that they were undertaking and helped them to feel more valued in the work that they are doing supporting others within the group.”

Download the full evaluation here

Developing peer support in the community: a toolkit

This toolkit is for people interested in mental health peer support happening in the community. This includes people who are:

  • supporting and being supported through peer support
  • setting up and running a peer support group or project
  • involved in commissioning peer support projects.

It will be particularly useful for people who want to establish a new peer support project.

You can access the toolkit in Welsh and English.

What Next? 

On 25 February 2021 we'll be hosting an online national event for Wales. We hope to use the opportunity to promote peer support across Wales, and share our learning from the Side by Side programme. We're also updating our peer support toolkit, with a particular focus on how peer support groups can become sustainable. 

If you would like to know more, please email us at: [email protected]

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