Peer support workers are people who have lived experience of mental health challenges themselves. They use these experiences and empathy to support other people and their families receiving mental health services. Peer support workers join other members of someone’s care team to help support their wellbeing and provide inspiration for their recovery.
The Mental Health Implementation Plan identifies opportunities for the growth of peer support workers up until 2024. Independent thought pieces (below) have also made a helpful contribution to help us understand, plan and expand the presence of peer support workers in mental health settings. Our ambition is to support the development of peer support workers nationally and to grow supervisor capacity and capability. This is across the following areas: perinatal mental health, adult severe mental illnesses (SMI) community care, adult crisis alternatives and problem gambling mental health support.
Equality, diversity and inclusion are fundamental to human rights and therefore to peer support workers' core beliefs and values. That’s why the NHS welcomes people from all ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, socio-economic classes, religions, disabilities and ages in everything we do. This is in line with HEE’s commitment to a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Peer Support Workers' Competence Framework
HEE’s New Roles in Mental Health Implementation Group for Peer Support Workers commissioned this competence framework to support the projected expansion in the number of peer support workers. It forms part of our national programme to develop new roles, and expand others, to transform the mental health workforce.
The peer support worker framework is formed in 3 parts:
- The Competence Framework - Part 1 - Supporting document
- The Competence Framework - Part 2 - Full list of competences
- The Competence Framework - Part 3 - Curriculum
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Peer Support Worker thought pieces
Health Education England commissioned a number of thought pieces with the aim of making a helpful contribution to understanding, planning and expanding the presence of peer support workers in health and care settings. The documents are designed to be thought-provoking and offer perspectives on critical issues regarding peer support workers and the wider health and social care system:
- Peer Support within the criminal justice system and mental health services (Series of ten podcasts).
We commissioned this Peer Support Workers' Benchmarking report with the aim of obtaining a detailed profile of peer support workers employed in NHS mental health services and the associated delivery context. Fifty-five NHS provider organisations took part in the project, equivalent to 100% of all NHS Mental Health Trusts in England. Of these, 21 organisations (38%) reported that they did not directly employ any peer support workers in their mental health services as at 30 September 2019. The report focuses on the remaining 34 providers (62%) who shared data.
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