Write to us:
VoiceAbility, Stratford Advice Arcade , 107-109 The Grove, Stratford, London, E15 1HP
Call us: 020 33 55 7142
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
A peer advocate is a trained volunteer who has similar experiences to you and so can understand the situation you are in.
Peer advocates or mentors support you to have a voice about the issues that matter to you.
Your peer advocate will:
- encourage you
- support you practically (for example by calling people, writing letters, finding out information on the internet etc)
- share their experiences with you if you want them to
- help you to get something positive from your experience
Peer advocacy is a two-way relationship based on mutual trust and respect. Many people who have worked with a peer advocate become peer advocates themselves as they develop their skills and confidence.
To us, peer advocacy is about mentoring. ‘Mentoring’ is a relationship supporting someone through their personal recovery. It is about encouraging and PRACTICALLY supporting someone to make the most of themselves and this opportunity.
Mentoring is about developing mutual trust and respect. It is a two-way relationship; you both get the chance to learn new things and help each other. The Mentor and the Mentee benefit from personal development. Mentors have lots of life experiences that mentees can learn from and vice versa. It is also a great way for mentees to develop and improve communication and goal planning skills and for mentors to learn and gain more skills.
Peer advocacy is a new service in Newham and we are currently recruiting and training our peer mentors. We have run an extremely successful peer advocacy service in Camden and you can read the feedback from Jenny, who worked with a peer mentor last year:
I wanted to thank you for arranging my mentoring sessions as meeting up with Kim has got me through a very difficult time, which at many points I didn't think I would get through, and helped rebuild my confidence to get back to normal life. I have been really isolated and unable to do much while I have had this severe depressive episode but going out with Kim encouraged me to get out of my flat and do 'normal' things which I had lost the will to do on my own. I am very grateful and only wish I had know about it earlier in my illness as I think it would have prevented me getting as bad as I did. It is a invaluable service and I hope it continues to be adopted more widely. I'd like to think that I will one day be strong enough to volunteer as a mentor.Jenny, peer mentee
I want to be a Mentor – What will I get out of it?
We are recruiting for Peer Mentors now. Being a mentor can be an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience. Not only will you be helping someone else develop his or her skills but you will get a lot from it, too.
Mentoring can give you new skills and allow you the opportunity to develop your existing skills. Mentors experience increasing levels of empowerment, self-esteem and increased confidence that they are doing well. They feel more able to cope with their own mental health issues.
Peer Support benefits everyone, not just the mentor. Your mentee should recognise empathy and respect from you and in return feels a sense of hope and optimism.