Pearl discussed how mentors can help mentees set goals that they want to achieve either on the ward, or when they come home. She emphasised how the importance of their role is to allow people to find confidence, and recognise it is the small steps that are imperative, as opposed to making large leaps straight away. The peer mentoring programme provides adds a different layer of support to mentees recovery journey, as Pearl states, “We can help them find confidence and help give them an understanding they aren’t alone, we have been through it and we are not professionals.” It allows there to be someone to walk alongside the Mentee, through these small steps, knowing the road they face.
This programme does not only benefit the Mentee, but also has positive impacts on the Mentors. Pearl discussed how she as a mentor had learnt skills throughout the process that she felt helped to keep her on track with her own mental health. The work she does has led to her feeling inspired in the role, and this has given her “a real hunger now going forward” to help keep growing and developing this programme. Pearl also reviewed how her own personal development has been impacted by this programme, and noted the improvement in her academic progression. Her goals have changed throughout this programme. Pearl completed her GCSE English and Maths exams two years ago, the first part of an access course and is now completing the second part of the access course, before going onto university. In the future, she hopes that this will help her to go further with the programme.
In order for the mentee’s to be sufficiently supported, it is essential that the mentors are supported. Pearl discussed how there are check-ins after every meeting with mentees, along with regular reflective practices, and more support at the end of the phone if needed. The other mentors are also a massive support, as Pearl described it, they were a team. The peer mentoring programme is a great way to both help, and learn on the path of recovery for both mentors and mentees. It is an extra support system, fundamentally based on the concept of lived-experiences, and mutual understandings. In Pearl’s words, “we are just part of a jig saw puzzle really to get them back to some form of normality”.
St Mungos wants to thank all the Peer Mentors for their amazing work, you are really making a difference and we can’t wait to see how you help the programme progress.