As part of Mental Health Awareness Week (09 - 15 May 2022), we're highlighting the role that peer support and peer practice play in helping to alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation in our workplaces and communities. Our Mental Health Peer Support Network Coordinator, Trish, has written a blog post to tell you about how peer support has changed her life and how it can help you to make healthy connections:
Since taking up my position with Fife Voluntary Action to establish and coordinate a Network of people interested in growing Peer Practice in Fife, just over two years ago, I have become more and more aware of how effective and valuable Peer Practice is.
Bearing in mind how isolated and anxious I felt during lockdown and still do feel at times, I can imagine that many others have struggled with their mental wellbeing also. If we were to be entirely honest, our wellbeing has taken a bit of a bashing over the last couple of years, mainly due to the increased feelings of isolation and loneliness that arose during the pandemic. However, I find that if I take the time to talk with a trusted colleague or friend, my stress levels are immediately lessened. Through sharing and listening to their stories, hopes, and fears, I feel connected again.
How good would it be if we felt able to share our experiences wholeheartedly and authentically without fear of judgement in our communities and/or in the workplace. Imagine if there were people employed by your employer, GP or health worker, support agency etc, to facilitate such discussions and join you on your journey while you go through your struggles and recover from the repercussions of the pandemic or whatever caused your mental wellbeing to be impaired.
This is the aim of Fife’s Mental Health Peer Support Network. We aim to facilitate and mobilise a network of like-minded people with lived experience of mental health challenges to create and increase opportunities for statutory and voluntary services as well as to train and prepare Mental Health Peer Practitioners for volunteering roles and employment. I believe there has never been more need for an army of Peer Practitioners in the workplace, in health and social care services, in the Public Sector and in our communities than right now!
Please contact me at [email protected] for further information and to join our growing mailing list.