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Peer support workers in mental health

Peer support workers have a long history evolving from service user (patients) movements for better care and a greater patient and carer voice, to today where peer support workers (PSW) are valued and supported by the NHS.

Peer support workers have a long history evolving from service user (patients) movements for better care and a greater patient and carer voice, to today where peer support workers (PSW) are valued and supported by the NHS.

Peer support workers have personal lived experience of mental health challenges,  and support those receiving services, working towards the individual’s wellbeing, giving hope and supporting recovery. Their approach is built on shared experiences and empathy.

We have a clear vision for the next five years to significantly increase the number of PSWs in all health and social care sectors, to complement and add value to mental health services.

The work we are doing will help services introduce Peer Support Workers into their teams, overcome the challenges of embedding this role and support those in the role to flourish. The introduction of people with lived experience of mental health problems into the mental health workforce is a hugely significant step in a service becoming more recovery-focused and person-centred. 

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 which can provide person-centred care.