BHT’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Service have 15 Peer Support Volunteers that lead groups, activities and workshops for men and women experiencing mental health challenges and additional support needs. Volunteers were received by the Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Councillor Pete West, in the Mayor’s Parlour on Thursday 9th March, and thanked for their time, commitment and dedication.
Volunteers offer to clients of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Service two weekly peer support drop-ins plus workshops including assertiveness and identity, winter wellbeing, drama, writing, resilience, parenting and story sharing. Volunteers are fully supported within the service, with regular supervision and additional training. After volunteering, individuals have gone into fields such as support work, youth work, teaching and counselling.
Lorena Barroeta (Wellbeing Peer Support Coordinator) has developed and delivered peer support training to BHT volunteers and volunteers from the local charity, Amaze, who has a new peer support project for young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The training covered includes wellbeing and resilience, peer support theory, boundaries, stigma, active listening and story sharing. Lorena said: “Peer Support Volunteers are an integral part of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Service. Without them, we would be unable to offer the range of activities that we do.
“The fact that these volunteers have overcome their own challenges regarding their wellbeing makes the groups they lead more authentic, and inspires hope in the clients who attend.”
Leah Nimz (Peer Support Volunteer) said: “I have gained a wealth of experience through my support work and group facilitation. Volunteering at BHT has been especially rewarding and I have had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people, whilst also noticing an improvement in my confidence and creativity. This experience is also a fantastic introduction to working in the field of mental health.”
Cllr West said: “It is amazing to hear the great work of BHT’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Service, and how volunteers play a huge part in supporting clients to achieve their life goals.”