Peer Mentoring is an agreed and supervised relationship between a person who has lived through a specific experience and is now managing their recovery/rehabilitation well (Peer Mentor) and a person who is at an earlier stage of their recovery journey (Mentee). Peer Mentors could be described as “holders of hope” that being in a more positive place on the recovery journey is possible. The relationship is supportive, but enabling and based on the ability to quickly build trust & rapport due to an understanding of the challenges a mentee may face. Peer mentors are picked for their sensibility, confidence, social skills and reliability.
The Peer Mentoring relationship is constrained by time, must maintain personal boundaries and confidentiality, and involve effective communication, appropriateness of activity with the guidance and support of the supervisor. The relationship should be mutually rewarding for both the Mentor and Mentee.
Our Peer Mentoring Project is a partnership between St Mungo’s and Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP). Our Peer Mentors meet their Mentee’s for 1:1 sessions, weekly, for 8-10 weeks, exploring options that may improve wellbeing, gently challenging the Mentee with new ideas, encouraging and motivating them to move beyond the things that are most comfortable. The mentoring enables and empowers the mentee to make choices and identify goals that will help them improve their confidence and self-esteem, make better lifestyle choices, linking them with their community and building a broader support network by engaging in activities, courses or education, reducing feelings of isolation.
Clients who access AWP (Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership) for their mental health support, or have been assessed by the Primary Care Liaison Service are currently able to request a peer mentor. The referral process for outside agencies is currently being developed.