Peer support is when people use their own experiences to help each other. There are different types of peer support, but they all aim to:
– bring together people with shared experiences to support each other
– provide a space where you feel accepted and understood
– treat everyone’s experiences as being equally important
– involve both giving and receiving support.
All of our peer support groups are hosted by trained Peer Support Leaders who have their own experience of mental illness. The groups are very informal and usually involve coming together a group over a cup of tea and talking about your experiences and how you are feeling.
These groups are designed to be as safe and supportive as possible. You don’t have to share if you don’t want to, you will not be put under any pressure to talk. Sometimes just knowing there are others going through what you are going through is helpful.
Lots of people find peer support useful to help them cope with mental health issues.
For example, it could:
– help you to open up about what you are feeling and experiencing
– introduce you to ideas and approaches that others have found helpful
– reassure you that you’re not alone in how you are feeling
– help you to connect with others and give you a sense of belonging
– encourage you to value your strengths
– build your self-esteem and confidence
– help you to feel more hopeful about the future.
If you are not ready to join a group, you can request one-to-one peer support. We will match you up with a trained peer supporter who can chat to you over the phone, via chat, email, or face-to-face.
Our peer supporters are all parents with lived experience of perinatal mental illness. Your peer supporter will contact you to carry out an initial assessment and if you both agree that one-to-one peer support is the best support for you, they will arrange a suitable time each week to speak to you and offer a listening ear.
Our peer supporters aren’t counsellors, they don’t offer therapy, but a safe space to talk about how you are feeling. They can signpost you to services and information that may help with your recovery and help you to work through your issues by offering support.
I just want to say thank you for The Parent Rooms. This service has been my lifeline.
A one-off or regular donation can help us train more peer support volunteers to deliver groups across Northern Ireland.