Marsh Awards for Mental Health Peer Support: Sustainability

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 have been working to build in sustainable policies and programmes to support both their team and participants with their mental health in the long term.

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.

Changes Bristol, Wellbeing Hub and Peer Support Team and Missing Peace and Wellbeing Support  2022

Changes Bristol (Star Project) 

Changes Bristol began in 2003 when people with lived experience came together to form a support network for those suffering mental distress. They now run a number of different peer support groups including a walking group, gardening groups and a befriending service. All group facilitators have struggled with their mental health and offer to share their lived experience which helps to build trust among participants. Changes provides a safe space for people to talk about their problems which helps them to feel less alone and encourages them to speak out and seek help. At the end of each session, members are encouraged to set a goal for the week which further encourages better habits and celebrating small achievements. 

Wellbeing Hub and Peer Support Team at Tameside, Oldham and Glossop Mind 

This team run a range of groups and activities which are open to all and inclusive of those from marginalised communities. There are 2 paid members of staff in the team and a number of volunteers, all who have lived experience of direct mental health issues. Volunteers support groups that are related to their experience and cover a range of ages and backgrounds, including some who have English as their second language. The groups have been set up to improve people’s wellbeing and reduce isolation, with the option of attending online still in place for those who wish not to attend in person. Some of the activities available are creative, which encourages members to share their experiences in a different way and to express their creativity. Staff and volunteers are encouraged to look after their own mental health while working in the groups, to ensure that they are looked after and that the service from the group is consistent. 

Missing Peace and Wellbeing Support 

Missing Peace was set up in 2017 when the founder noticed that there was a missing piece to the puzzle when it comes to therapeutic support in the UK. This service is for anyone who identifies as struggling with their mental health and there are a number of targeted groups running each week, including face to face support, single sex groups, groups for young people and groups for those with additional needs. All directors and volunteers at Missing Peace have their own lived experience of mental health. They also run a number of training sessions to encourage people to take control of their mental health. They work with a number of different organisations, signposting members to the support they need and working collaboratively to get funding.