Hexagon has developed a new Paid Peer Mentor Network in mental health, following a successful bid to Southwark’s Adult Innovation Fund.
- The Athena Project
- What is Peer Support?
Peer support is when people provide knowledge, experience, and emotional, social or practical help to each other. A peer is a person who is in a position to offer support by virtue of similar relevant experience: he or she has ‘been there, done that’ and can relate to others who are now in a similar situation.
Until recently, most peer roles have been voluntary and unpaid. However, this is changing as evidence increasingly shows the benefit of peer support for long-term conditions, and paid professional peer roles are gradually being created to complement more traditional roles.
- Who is the network for?
The peer mentor network will initially benefit people living in Southwark with mental health needs who are moving from high-support accommodation to independent living. This group of people will be allocated a personal budget to support them in their new living arrangements and with their ongoing recovery. A key aim of the mentor network will be to help individuals to engage with their local community and to reduce social isolation, which is important to maintain overall wellbeing.
- The Role of Mentors
An important and exciting part of our project centres on the role of the paid peer mentors. The essential criteria for these roles will be to have experience of volunteering in the community, as well as direct experience of mental health. Peer mentors can live anywhere and will not have to have a connection with Southwark, though the service will be delivered to people in Southwark.
Peers will be offered training in community development work and mentoring using a method that recognises and builds on the skills, knowledge and experience that they already have, and fills any gaps via bite-sized learning. The training will ensure the peer mentoring service is of a good standard and, importantly, the mentors will gain recognised qualifications, offering them a gateway into other employment.
Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Athena Project
Why Athena? Well, Athena was the goddess of wisdom in ancient Greece. We have chosen her name because at one time she took the form of a man named Mentor so she could accompany and support Telemachus in his quest to find his father Odysseus.
During autumn 2014, the Athena Project started in earnest with my appointment and the recruitment of the first group of potential peer mentors. The training programme is now underway and will run from October through to February 2015.
There are 12 people on the course, from all kinds of backgrounds and a range of ages. The aim is for them to become Athena Mentors by spring 2015, at which point they will be paid to support people who are moving from high-support accommodation into independent living.
The next training period will start in summer 2015. To be eligible for this you don’t need to have experience of academic learning, but you do need experience of mental health problems and helping people in your community.
Mob: 07961 108588
- Who is the Athena Project For?
The Athena Project will initially benefit people living in Southwark with mental health needs who are moving from high-support accommodation to independent living. Support is provided by people with lived experience of mental health issues. A key aim of the project is to help individuals engage with their local community and to reduce social isolation.
- How to get Support: Mentor profiles
Athena mentors can help you:
• Prepare to live independently, and support you once you are living independently
• Build up a network of friends and contacts in the community
• Apply for benefits and funding
• Be a person, not a patient!
If you would like some support from the Athena Project, you can see the people who could support you using the link below. Contact John Lake on 07961 108 588 or email@example.com, and he will try and match you with one of them.
- How to become a Paid Peer Mentor
Please click here to download our application form. Please complete our PDF document and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org