Marsh Award for Mental Health Peer Support: Creativity and Innovation

These Awards are run in partnership with Mind and wider Peerfest partners and recognise excellence in peer led support for those experiencing mental health problems.

Peer support happens when people work together, or support each other, from their lived experience. It can take place informally and formally, in all sorts of settings such as in user led organisations, projects, support groups and in the workplace. It means different things to different people. It may also be called self help, befriending/wellbeing groups, meet ups, or mentoring. It also can take place online through digital means.

This Award recognises peer support groups that run artistic activities and think outside the box to provide new ways to support those struggling with mental health. 

Nominations for the Award are judged by an independent panel of people with peer support expertise, others with lived experience, and representatives from Peerfest partner organisations.

Misery, Mothers Uncovered and Survivors of Depression in Transition 2022

Misery (Star Project) 

Misery was created in 2018 as a space for members to be able to be involved with social activities, but also receive the support that they need to manage their mental health. Since it was founded, Misery has been dedicated to supporting the mental health of a wide cross-section of society and people of all backgrounds. The group is also a sober collective, supporting those with addictions and histories of problematic substance misuse. They work to support people in poverty by offering their services and events for free. They run events in the UK and internationally, with the parties they put on offering space to dance as well as access to much-needed mental health resources. During the pandemic, they ran online groups so that their members across the world could continue to receive support.  

Mothers Uncovered 

Mothers Uncovered have helped over 2,000 women since 2008 through creative support groups that are focused on the mother, rather than the baby. The groups provide a chance for mothers to connect with new people, creating an environment of trust and mutual respect which can support them throughout their journey of motherhood. The facilitators of the groups are not only mothers, but past participants and many are from low-income backgrounds or are single parents. They understand the emotional, practical and financial difficulties that mothers can face and have formed a strong support system for mothers who may feel isolated. The group workshops encourage discussion amongst the mothers and give participants an opportunity to document their experiences of motherhood through art, singing and other creative activities.  

Survivors of Depression in Transition (SODIT) 

SODIT started almost 30 years ago, when a group of women got together to start a peer support group at Mind in Sheffield, after they felt they had been let down by the NHS. They now have 14 peer support counsellors and run a variety of activities for members including crafts, storytelling workshops, writing workshops and trauma workshops, through which they support around 150 women. The sessions run by SODIT support people’s mental health and wellbeing by providing them with a safe space to explore and share their stories, while also providing practical advice and support where this is needed. By running storytelling workshops, SODIT help people to change the narrative of their mental health journey and help them to reconnect with their personality that exists outside this diagnosis.