Oxford Health’s pioneering approach to recovery and employment for people with experience of mental illness has been awarded prestigious trailblazer status by Health Education England. The Peer Support Worker Programme focuses on people’s recovery – providing one-of-a-kind support to people experiencing mental ill-health and inspirational opportunities for people in recovery. The accolade means the trust is to further expand the programme and will have the chance to contribute to a national framework for the approach alongside a national evaluation programme.
A total of 27 peer support workers are employed by the trust supporting people who use adult mental health services in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
They are part of the multi-disciplinary team offering support in a unique way for patients. And becoming a Peer Support Worker provides hope, control and opportunity for patients on their recovery journey as they become an extremely valuable asset to the existing team of support and clinical staff. The programme, part of Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership’s programme of work, is expanding as it goes from strength to strength.
This year peer support workers will be recruited into Forensics and Older Adult services in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. A senior peer support worker role is also being developed alongside a lived experience lead in the trust’s Learning and Development team. The move will embed lived experience in trust training with staff hearing first hand from participants. Recruitment is also underway for a support programme lead.
Chris Morton, service manager and lived experience lead for Buckinghamshire, said: “The Peer Support Programme is changing the culture across the whole organisation to have a real focus on recovery. It also breaks down any separation of staff and patients, demonstrating that we all have mental health and mental wellbeing. Peer support workers can provide support to patients, drawn from their own experience. They can help improve the quality of patient care and offer unique insight and support for people to recover and thrive, after a period of poor mental health.”
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