"I want to emphasise how important the voice of lived experience is."
Peer support workers are people with lived experience of mental health difficulties who bring their unique perspective to clinical teams. They spend time with people who use our services and support them. Here, Emily Daly shares her experience of being a peer support worker.
"I previously worked as a peer support worker on Jim Birley Unit, a women’s ward at Maudsley Hospital. It was a brilliant opportunity and great to see how the ward works. I have just started working in the community for a home treatment team. I go out with the clinicians to visit people in their homes, some of whom may have recently been discharged from hospital.
"As a peer support worker, you’re not saying you know exactly what people have been through because we have all had different life experiences. But you are able to say you have experienced what it’s like to be facing a hospital admission, or to have been recently discharged and how difficult that can be. I can also support people to attend something they might find hard, whether that’s a GP appointment or a social event.
"It’s an opportunity for people who use our services to hopefully feel that little bit of connection and ability to relate. Sometimes you just need someone to sit with you and say “Yes, this is all a bit rubbish really”. And they give you a moment to think about how to move forward and embody a sense of hope.
"I’ve been in the Trust’s services as a patient for over 20 years - on a ward many times and with the home treatment team. I didn’t have the opportunity to meet with a peer support worker but this definitely would have benefited me.
"I want to emphasise how important the voice of lived experience is and I am really glad that the Trust is creating these opportunities for people with lived experience to effect change. People in crisis have a wealth of knowledge about their own condition and their life that we can tap into."