A group of mental health service have gained a nationally-recognised qualification after becoming peer mentors.
In the peer mentoring programme, run by health and social care services provider Turning Point, service users who have experience of the mental health system are trained to provide help and support to others going through treatment, especially during the transition from hospital to the community.
The graduates received their certificates from Andy James, Turning Point’s assistant chief executive, at Milestone, a 14-bed high support housing unit for people with enduring mental health issues that facilitates reintegration into the community, in London.
Chris Flounders, peer mentoring projects coordinator for Turning Point, said: “Every person who steps forward as a Peer Mentor, to attend the training and help others can be justifiably proud of their achievement. Many will have been on personal journeys of discovery and self-realisation, for some it is the first time they have been able to use their unique skills to help others and for a few it’s the one of the first steps into formal education, employment and sustainable independence.”
Leon, one of the peer mentors who graduated at the ceremony, said: “Peer mentoring means that I can put my past experiences to good use by helping and guiding people who are going through similar experiences to my own.”
Another graduate said: “I’ve been in the same situation as a lot of the people I’m mentoring and so I feel I have something to offer and can help someone to manage their life more independently.”