for better mental health

Women Side by Side

Women Side by Side uses peer support to improve the mental health of women facing disadvantage

From prevention to crisis care, there is huge variation in service provision for women with mental health problems throughout England and Wales.

There’s an absence of well-resourced and joined-up public services, resulting in women feeling unsupported and alone. There is a severe lack of services that are developed by women, for women and in response to the challenges women face.  

About the programme

Mind and Agenda, the alliance for women and girls at risk, worked together on a programme of peer support for women, called Women Side by Side, which aimed to increase the availability of high-quality peer support for women.

The programme combined and built upon the expertise of the women’s sector to deliver gender-specific support and Mind’s experience of delivering community-based peer support.

We grant funded £1.3m to 67 third sector organisations across England and Wales to deliver women’s peer support for 12 months.

Benefits of the programme

The programme has seen the positive impact of gendered and trauma-informed peer support for women experiencing multiple disadvantage, through an independent evaluation.

Women have highlighted a range of benefits including: 

  • improvements in their social networks
  • being better connected to friends and neighbours
  • feeling less lonely and isolated
  • being more able to talk about mental health with friends, neighbours and acquaintances
  • increased self-esteem, self-confidence and skills.

Read our reports

Read the policy report

Read the policy report in Welsh

Read the 'at a glance’ summary 

Read the 'at a glance' summary in Welsh

Read the external evaluation report executive summary

Read the external evaluation report executive summary in Welsh

Read the external evaluation full report

Read the external evaluation full report in Welsh

The McPin Foundation worked with St George’s, University of London on this programme’s independent evaluation. Read blogs from peer researchers, and view their dedicated webpage.

Clean break

Clean Break is a women’s theatre organisation, which works in prisons and other communities across the UK.   Clean Break received funding from Women Side by Side to develop a peer supported health and wellbeing group.

Launch event

On 29 June 2020 we held an online event to present findings from Women Side by Side, and over 200 people joined us. This video shows some event highlights:

Other ways to get involved

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