Marsh Award for Mental Health Peer Support: Workplace or Organisation

These Awards were run in partnership with Mind and wider Peerfest partners to 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 recognised peer support based in working environments, often which have been encouraged or endorsed by employers.

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


Peer Mentors for Mental Health and Ability Employee Resource Group 2017

Peer Mentors for Mental Health (Winner)

This course encourages mental health champions within schools, training them to plan assemblies and delivering which helps social activities which helps to create a cohort of peer mentors within the school community who go on to spread the message about the importance of mental health. The course ends with participants pitching ideas to a panel of teachers, pupils and governors about how they think their school can adapt to make mental health more prominent within the school community. There are currently over 200 peer mentors active in Liverpool, in 10 different groups across 10 different schools. They are there to listen, provide support and advice and be an approachable friend for their peers who are struggling with mental health.

The course came about following the group’s participation in an NHS event in Manchester for National Takeover Day in November 2015. These young people have regular access to CAMHS and felt that more peer support was needed as if their friends understood why they were feeling what they were feeling; it would have helped them immensely. The course has trained young people from a range of ages, cultural and religious backgrounds and those who struggle with their mental health or have a friend or family member who do. They constantly look to the future and following the end of the course are encouraged to continue spreading the message about mental health as far as they can.

Ability Employee Resource Group (Runner-up)

Ability is the HSBC employee resource group for disability, physical and mental health, and carers. The group is run solely by volunteers within HSBC, all of whom have lived experience of different mental conditions and who are passionate about raising awareness of mental health in a variety of ways, including organising events and activities, delivering information sessions and providing one to one support.

The group produced a guide to mental health in the workplace which was published in 2016, covering a range of areas such as spotting the signs of mental health, how to get support and returning to work after time off. They encourage leading figures within HSBC to introduce events and speak generally about their support for mental health. They offer all employees a safe space and a platform to talk about mental health and share their experiences to help others going through similar troubles.