Paid Peer Support

New Peer Support Worker positions at Oxford Health

We are looking to train and employ Peer Support Workers to join us in all our Oxfordshire Adult Inpatient & Community teams.

From April 2018, staff at Oxford Health will be offering free Peer Support training to those interested in the Peer Support Worker roles.

The roles are suited to people with lived (first-hand) experience of poor mental health, who are willing and able to draw on their own experiences to help others on their recovery journey.

People who complete the training will be able to apply for paid Peer Support Worker jobs in all our Oxfordshire Adult Inpatient and Community teams.

What is Peer Support?

Peer support is “a system of giving and receiving help founded on key principles of respect, shared responsibility, and mutual agreement of what is helpful. It is about truly understanding another person’s situation through the shared experience” (Mead, 2003).

The ethos of peer support is about sharing stories with compassion, honesty and empathy to help other people who are struggling with similar things.

What does a Peer Support Worker do?

Peer Support Workers are people who have lived experience of mental health challenges and who use these experiences to help others on their recovery journey. They offer an empathetic ear, hold hope, and show that a diagnosis doesn't have to define a person. They can say truthfully “it can, and it will, get better; I am living proof of that”.

As these are new posts we are still working with our teams and patient representatives to identify the specific duties a Peer Support Worker will be expected to carry out. Duties will vary depending on which department a Peer Support Worker is based, but they will likely include:  facilitating activity and discussion groups, working one-to-one with patients to help with goal-setting, social activity and building strong working relationships with staff. Peer Support Workers will be encouraged to draw on their existing skills and interests and there will be some scope for individuals to tailor the roles to their interests.

Why is Peer Support Important?

Having Peer Support Workers has many potential benefits, not only to the team they work in but also to the organisation. Peer Support Workers can introduce and improve recovery-focussed, strengths-based practices into teams, which can lead to more recovery-minded staff, ultimately benefiting service users.

Working with a Peer Support Worker can give people hope as they can see that it does get better. This can in turn lead to fewer and shorter hospital admissions with more people living in the community whilst on their recovery journey.

Interested in becoming a Peer Support Worker?

If you or someone you know is interested in finding out more about these exciting new roles please get in touch: email peersupport@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk, or call our Peer Support Coordinator, Will Gibson, on 07917 828669.

Step 1)You can register your interest by contacting Will with:

  • A brief explanation of why you are interested
  • Your contact telephone number and email address

We will then send you an information pack with details of our training programme (beginning in April 2018) and arrange a time to meet or talk to you over the phone.

Step 2)We are advising potential applicants to undertake some preliminary training through the local Recovery College, we recommend enrolling on two half-day courses:

Introduction to Recovery
Understanding Mental Health

Of course if there are other courses that you’re interested in studying as well that’s great but not a necessity. For more information about the Recovery College click here.

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Note to Oxford Health staff:  We are still looking for enthusiastic people to become Recovery Champions to help us promote the project in their teams and help support Peer Support Workers on training placements

If you want to keep updated about our project, please sign up to our distribution list by emailing peersupport@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk