Trigger warning: this contains references to suicidal feelings
Peer support workers support service users and their families by using their lived experience of mental health issues. They work in a recovery-focused way, emphasising connectedness, hope, identity, and empowerment. Peer workers share their lived experience to inspire hope that recovery is possible. Tiru, shares his lived experience of mental health and his journey to becoming a Peer Support Coordinator.
"With recurring severe depression and several episodes of suicidal ideation and anxiety for over half my life, I felt like I always kept crashing in the same car. It took me a long time to get the right help I needed to stay on the road.
“I have used SLAM services several times. I have had support from the Home Treatment Team and have had psychiatric evaluations at the Maudsley. The most recent of these evaluations helped me understand my symptoms more clearly and started a new phase in my understanding of my own traumas.
“I became a Peer Support Worker after realising that a career in advertising no longer aligned with my values as I approached 40. It's now the only thing I really want to do - helping people with their mental health struggles from a position of equality.
“By working with lived experience health professionals, service users and their loved ones see a tangible demonstration, in the form of the peer support worker, in front of them, that there is hope for recovery and for one day using their difficult experiences to enrich themselves and their communities.
“My advice to those struggling with their mental health is this: give yourself all the time in the world to heal, and don't delay in asking for support when you need it.”