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.
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.
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
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 here.
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.