As a Peer Support Volunteer, you will act as a role model using your own personal lived experience of mental health distress and the criminal justice system to inspire hope and support others in their own journey of recovery. You will work with service users to help them develop a belief in their own abilities to deal with various situations; the confidence to have control over their own motivation, behavior and social environment; and the ability to achieve their goals in life.
You will support the individual throughout the pathway, with a focus on life beyond service engagement, supporting meaningful activities and social inclusion.
As a Peer Support Volunteer in our service, you will be able to:
· Provide one to one peer support, phone based and face-to-face (changes to social distancing permitting).
· Be involved in peer support volunteer interviews.
· Attend peer support review meetings to discuss and suggest possible improvements to the service as well as communicate on behalf of other peer supporters.
As a Peer Support Volunteer within our service, your lived experience of mental health distress and contact with the criminal justice system will be at the heart of your role.
You will use your own lived experiences of both to empathise with and support people who have similar experiences. We appreciate that no two people’s experiences of mental health distress or contact with the criminal justice system would be the same and will do our best to match peer supporters with service users according to their needs and preferences.
You will work alongside the Peer Support Coordinator (PSC) and a network of other peer supporters in this role. The PSC will provide guidance in your training and subsequent work with service users. You will support someone in a way that is led by them and suits your strengths and skills. This could include:
· Sharing your lived experience in a way that expresses empathy and hopefulness. This will involve sharing skills and techniques to help people identify their own self-management tools and ways of moving forward in life.
· Supporting service users through one to one sessions, providing emotional support and using your lived experience as described above. This can include helping people to focus on their strengths, set goals and develop action plans, drawing on your own experiences where relevant.
· Identifying local services and activities that someone might want to access, signposting and supporting them to access these. We are aware that routine and productivity can contribute to a sense of mental wellbeing and encourage people to remain active in ways that occupy them and stimulate their interests.
· Where appropriate, supporting someone to appointments, meetings and activities, providing emotional support using your own lived experiences.
· Supporting and enabling less experienced peer supporters in their role.
· Working alongside service users, other peers and staff to develop peer support in our service. This may include attending peer support review meetings as a representative of other peer supporters within the service.
· Providing support to someone as they prepare to move on from using the service. We aim to support service users for a period of 12 to 18 months.
You are welcome as a peer supporter to suggest other ways of providing peer support. The most important thing is that you are drawing on your own personal experiences of mental health distress and the criminal justice system to support others.
Key skills and experiences
To carry out this volunteering role, you will:
· Have personal lived experience of mental health distress.
· Have personal lived experience of contact with the criminal justice system i.e. arrested, cautioned, imprisoned.
· Be able to share personal experiences of mental health distress, the criminal justice system and recovery as/when appropriate to demonstrate empathy and share self-management techniques.
· Be passionate about service user leadership, peer support and empowering people experiencing mental distress and with experience of the criminal justice system.
· Be able to communicate and engage in a respectful and non-judgmental way with a range of people who use mental health and criminal justice services.
· Have excellent active listening and interpersonal skills: empathy, kindness, compassion and patience.
· Be able to problem-solve, be proactive and resourceful when supporting people.
· Be able to deal with all enquiries tactfully, sensitively and on a confidential basis.
· Adhere to Together policies and procedures including Equality & Diversity, Confidentiality, Safeguarding as well as Boundaries guidance and Best Practice for peer supporters.
Whilst volunteering as a peer supporter with us, you will have regular support and guidance from your PSC. You can go to them with any issues and/or questions about peer support, and you will work with them to develop and use your skills as a peer supporter in a way that benefits and empowers you and the people you are supporting.
Please apply by downloading the application pack and returning to us.