The whole concept of peer support is centred around individuals bringing their own personal knowledge of an experience, such as mental health, with others who feel similar and enables a space where people feel understood and accepted.
Yes, it does work because it is considered as a vital part of recovery within mental health as it helps many individuals move through difficult situations through discussion about what is troubling them. Although there are numerous services out there, peer support is recognised as being useful through offering practical advice and suggestions to each other, with an understanding of similar experiences, in a way that professionals may not offer or know about.
This is the main attractions of peer support, the fact it is from a non-professional vantage point is considered crucial in helping people rebuild their sense of community through rapports with others and even developing friendships. Peer support encourages healing and recovery by opening up about what is bothering you and being able to relate to those around you.
Peer support groups are a great place for individuals to try if they feel traditional mental health support has failed to work. At Unmasked, we have witnessed first-hand how our peer support hubs really do work and have a significant impact on individuals lives, with attendees at the hubs describing the sessions with words such as ‘therapeutic, ‘inspirational’ and even ‘life-changing’, further reiterating the influence the hubs have.
‘It was not easy to go solo but I came away very positive and it touched me that so many people have very similar problems… can’t wait to go next week.’ – Unmasked Hub User, 2021
This is one of the reasons that keeps us constantly promoting all our services but especially our hubs here at Unmasked. If we can together help to make a difference in offering support to each other, then it will help in unmasking the stigma surrounding mental health. Our hubs run every Thursday evening, check out our Hubs’ tab for more information!
Unmasked is a charitable organisation based in Halifax, West Yorkshire and the work done by Unmasked is recognised as being invaluable to the individuals and wider communities that use it. We pride ourselves on providing a range of services that is based on unmasking the stigma that still currently surrounds mental health. This is done through our app ‘Unmasked’ available on the App Store and peer support hubs that are facilitated entirely on the concept of providing opportunities for communities to be able to unite together and support each other.
Since November 2020, Unmasked has become the full circle of support and now offers a low cost counselling service to provide support at a professional compacity. All who volunteer here have a dedicated attitude to promoting the importance of speaking about mental wellbeing and want to be able to continue doing all they can to achieve the goal of offering ongoing support and reducing the stigma associated with mental health.
Grace Farrar is the coordinator for Unmasked.