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One year in peer support – personal reflections

Emma Watson (Peer Support Worker, Nottingham NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 15 June 2012




In April 2010, Nottinghamshire NHS trust recruited ten peer support workers (PSWs) to pilot the idea of PSWs within the organisation. As the first initiative of its kind the first year involved constant development from everybody involved. The aim of this paper is to provide an insight into this experience from the perspective of the PSWs themselves.


A personal narrative of the first year of peer support is provided by a PSW employed by Nottingham NHS Trust and some of the key lessons learnt are described in terms of the “do's and don'ts” of peer support.


The reality of peer support involves constant questioning, facing dilemmas and challenging situations. Over the first year these were addressed by the peer support team as a whole and solutions were found together. The process is not easy for PSWs, all of whom have had to face situations, care settings and people that have triggered difficult memories and led to reflection on their personal recoveries. The hard work has brought rewards to the team for which they are grateful and which spurs them forward towards the next stage of their journeys.


This is a unique personal reflection of the processes involved in developing a peer support relationship. This will be of interest to those planning to implement this process in the NHS or those who hope to work within a peer support team.



Watson, E. (2012), "One year in peer support – personal reflections", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 85-88.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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