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Peer Support Worker

What is Peer Worker?
A Peer Worker is a role specifically for people who have lived experience of psychiatric challenges.
“Through sharing their own experiences they will inspire hope and optimism, empathy, mutuality, and friendship”.
The Peer Worker is an integral and highly valued member of the multi-disciplinary team; they will provide formalised peer support and practical assistance to people who have received services in order for them to regain control over their lives and their own unique recovery process.

Arizona-based Recovery Innovations Services follow this model and describe the key elements as follows:

1.   Mutuality: Giving and receiving help and support with respect based on a shared experience.
2.   Empathy: Understanding through the personal experience of having “been there”.
3.   Engagement: Sharing personal recovery experiences. “If she/he can do it, so can I.”
4.   Wellness: Focusing on each person’s strengths and wellness.
5.   Friendship: Promoting recovery through relationship and friendship.

Through sharing the wisdom from their own lived experience, they inspire hope and belief that recovery is possible in others. Within a relationship of mutuality, facilitate and support information sharing to promote choice, self-determination and opportunities for the fulfilment of socially valued roles and connection to local communities.

Why does it work?
"When people identify with others who they feel are ‘like them’, they feel a connection. This is turn fosters an environment where individuals can share suggestions and tips for their recovery with each other, and try out different strategies, with the support of their fellow peers." Sherry Mead, 2001

What have we achieved in Cambridge and Peterborough Foundation Trust?
In May 2010 Recovery Innovations, the World Leaders in Recovery, came over to the Trust to deliver 4 cohort of the Peer Employment Training.  In July 2010, we appointed two Peer Educators, Tracey Tingey and Sheena Mooney, to deliver the Peer Employment Training after recovery Innovations returned home. 
The Cambridge and Peterborough Foundation Trust have now delivered 6 cohorts of the training and we now employ a significant number of Peer Workers in our organisation, based in adult community teams, inpatient wards, early intervention teams, eating disorder ward, complex cases teams and also in the older persons community and inpatient wards.


What does the Training consist of?
The Peer Employment Training consists of 16 Modules, 168 hours classroom learning, 2 Hours of home working per day, 4 days of work experience based within  a team in the Trust, and 2 exams.  Accreditation for the course is currently being sought.

For more information on recovery and the Peer Employment Project in the Trust please visit here.

For more information on Recovery Innovations please visit their website.

They have their own section on the CPFT website here, which is where you can access copies of their newsletters.

If you would like more details about the programme, and how you could take part, then contact Cheril Barks through the newsletter mentioned above.

Last revised 7 August 2011

























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