Women Side by Side
From prevention to crisis care, there's huge variation in services for women with mental health problems in England and Wales.
There aren't enough well-resourced and joined-up public services. Which means many women feel unsupported and alone. There aren't enough services that are developed by women, for women, and in response to the challenges women face.
Women Side by Side is a programme which uses peer support to improve the mental health of women facing disadvantage.
What is the Women Side by Side 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. It aimed to increase the availability of high-quality peer support for women.
The programme combined:
- The expertise of the women’s sector to deliver gender-specific support
- Mind’s experience of delivering community-based peer support
We funded £1.3 million to 67 third sector organisations across England and Wales to deliver women’s peer support for 12 months.
Benefits of the programme
The programme demonstrated the positive impact of gendered and trauma-informed peer support for women experiencing multiple disadvantage. The McPin Foundation worked with St George’s, University of London, to independently evaluate the programme.
In the evaluation, women reported a range of benefits:
- 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
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.
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.