The following poster, and best practice guidance sheet, have been developed in order to support your team’s understanding of your role.

The poster could be displayed in working areas, and the best practise guidance could be given as a handout to achieve the above objective.


Peer support

(The coming together of two people who have walked along a similar path and find comfort in each other’s journey)

Peer support workers are people who have experienced mental health challenges, either themselves or as a carer. They are employed by the Trust to use their experiences to support others on their recovery journey. These individuals complement teams, adding another dimension, by delivering an approach which explicitly values lived experience and is strengths based and recovery focused. This provides a wider range of responses to people experiencing mental health challenges.


How can a peer support worker help you?

If you make the decision to work with one of our PSWs, they could support you in the following ways: 

  • By establishing a supportive and respectful relationship with you that is based on a shared understanding
  • Helping you identify your recovery goals
  • Sharing ideas with you, about ways of achieving recovery goals, by drawing on their own personal experience and a range of coping, self-help and self-management techniques
  • Assist you in creating your own recovery plan and develop an advanced directive
  • By modelling personal responsibility, self-awareness, self-belief, self-advocacy and hopefulness
  • Signposting you to various resources, opportunities and activities within the trust and in the community
  • Accompanying you to appointments, meetings and activities that are aligned to recovery goals
  • Helping you to overcome fears within a relationship of empathy and trust

Please speak to a member of the team, if you would like to spend some time with our Peer Support Worker.

Best practice guidance for peer support workers

Drawing on the local, national and international evidence base for the employment of peer workers, Nottinghamshire Healthcare uses the following practices to support the peer workforce.


All peer workers must complete peer support training. Ideally peer workers should complete the training that is offered within the Trust, but other courses are also available. Peer support training equips peer workers with these key skills:

  • Active listening
  • Understanding the importance of language and the role of stigma
  • Supporting personal wellbeing
  • Building and maintaining and ending relationships with people who use services
  • Codes of conduct, boundaries and personal safety
  • Using lived experience in a way that is helpful
  • For a full overview of the training, please contact the peer support development team


While Nottshc have been employing peer workers since 2010, the peer worker role is still a new addition to many teams. It is well documented in the research literature on peer support that role clarity, alongside a supportive team culture, are the two biggest predictors for the success of peer support. For this reason, it is vital that peer workers feel welcomed into the team and are supported to develop a clear understanding of their role.

It is helpful for peer workers to shadow other members of staff when they are first employed within teams, and for them to be assigned a mentor – a member of the team who can support them with queries and offer them extra guidance in their first few months in the team.

In terms of the peer worker role, this will vary depending on the team that they work within but there are some common elements across all peer support worker roles. All peer workers:

  • Are able to lone work or offer one to one support. In the community, peer workers hold a case load of their own. Peer workers should plan their own time with the support of supervision and manage it appropriately.
  • Should support people to work toward goals that they have defined for themselves in their own recovery
  • Should maintain up to date clinical records using the same reporting systems as the rest of the team
  • Be conscious of issues surrounding risk and know who to go to if they have concerns
  • Follow the peer worker and bands 2-4 codes of conduct
  • Should have access to the IT systems used by the team, including a mobile phone and laptop where needed


Peer workers all bring their lived experience of recovery to their roles, and like any staff member, they are expected to work on their own wellbeing, using supervision to help them with this. Some peer workers may find it helpful to complete a wellbeing at work plan, and share this with their supervisor or their wider team. These formats are not helpful for everybody though, so it is not mandatory that peer workers complete a wellbeing plan. It is however expected that peer workers are prepared to have open conversations within supervision about their wellbeing, including the factors that affect it, how they support themselves and any situations that they would find triggering or difficult.

Like any member of staff, peer workers will have an occupational health check prior to them starting in their roles. Occupational Health will be able to make specific recommendations following on from this about any reasonable adjustments that should be made to the peer workers role/working environment. 

Ongoing development

It is a common feature of best practise guidance for peer workers that they should have ongoing access to development opportunities and feel part of a peer support community. Because of this, the peer support development team facilitates ‘peer development days’ four times a year for all the peer workers employed within the Trust as well as all the people that have completed the peer support training but aren’t currently in role. These days include additional training, guest speakers and updates on developments within peer support. They also provide a reflective space for peer worker to discuss the successes and challenges they are currently experiencing within a community of their peers. Dates for the development days are sent to the peer workers in advance and can be provided on request.

Peer support development team

The peer support development team has been established to support the employment and ongoing development of peer workers across the Trust. It is located within the Learning and Organisational Development Department and is made up of peer development workers and the peer support development lead, all of whom are former peer support workers themselves. The peer development team facilitate peer support training, as well as other training for the Nottshc workforce. They provide supervision and development days for peer workers and are a source of support for peer workers and their teams. For more information about the peer support team, please visit the Connect webpages, or get in touch with the peer support development lead:



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