Peer Support Service

Peer Support Workers are people with personal experience of mental health conditions who are trained and employed to work in a formalised role to support others during recovery.

What is peer support?

What is peer support?

Peer support is when people use their own experiences to support others who are having similar experiences. Examples of this are a service user who has experienced psychosis supporting other service users with psychosis or a carer supporting family members of someone who has entered an inpatient ward. Peer Support complements the support given by healthcare professionals to inspire hope and empower others to reach their own individual recovery goals and make sense of their personal recovery journey.  

What is recovery?

What is recovery?

The recovery journey is not just about clinical recovery from symptoms. It is a process of change towards wellbeing and finding a sense of hope, control and purpose in life that looks beyond long-term conditions and illness. Recovery is about all of a person's life, not just their symptoms and can mean different things to different people.  Everyone's recovery journey is unique and personal to them.

What is a peer support worker?

What is a peer support worker?

A Peer Support Worker (PSW) is someone who has personal experience of living with a condition such as mental health difficulties, learning disabilities, gender dysphoria or neurodiversity, including ADHD and Autism. They may have experienced these things themselves or be a carer for someone who has and will usually have had support from secondary services. 

Peer support workers have perspective and understanding of recovery and living well with long term conditions, including what can support recovery journeys. 

This personal experience can help others on their own recovery journey by promoting hope and providing support based on shared experiences. Peer support workers are recruited because of their journey, experiences and passion for supporting others 

Peer support workers are in a stage of their recovery where they can manage their own well-being. They have developed techniques and strategies to keep themselves well long term and feel able to support others without harming their own well-being. 

 Peer support workers understand their own personal strengths and limitations and seek appropriate support if needed.

For more information about the peer support take a look at the following videos:

Peer Support Work - Charlie's story: Peer Support Work Charlie's Story - YouTube

Recovery – Rachel Perkins:  Rachel Perkins Lecture, May 2015 - YouTube

Peer Support – Julie Repper:  Föreläsning av professor Julie Repper om peer support - YouTube

What do peer support workers do?

What do peer support workers do?

Work collaboratively one to one or with groups of service users, families and carers enabling service users to lead their own recovery journey and make their own choices. 

Find and enable opportunities in the community that are specific to an individual's aspirations and dreams 

Inspire hope for a person receiving services and encourage them to believe in their potential and strengths. 

Recognise that recovery is individual for different people. It is day to day living and not a final destination.

Value people as individuals and accept people for who they are and where they are at a particular time in their recovery. 

Are free of judgement and assumptions about a person and their experiences. 

Are committed to supporting people to improve their health and well-being. 

 Are able to recall and share their own mental health experiences to inspire recovery in the lives of others. 

Are able to work positively on a one-to-one basis, independently, and within a team 

What a Peer Support Worker is not.

A Peer Support Worker is not a clinical role. PSW's do not make diagnoses or provide treatments and therapy.


Peer support and recovery college

Peer support and recovery college

The Recovery College offers a range of courses which may be of interest including a ‘What is Peer Support?’ Course.

For course dates and to find out more information about enrolling, please contact the Recovery College office at or call 03000 270470 (open Monday – Friday 9:30am to 4pm).


Peer support training


Peer support workers share the wisdom from their own lived experiences to inspire hope and belief that recovery is possible in other service users and carers.

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT) offers individuals with lived experience (either as a service user or carer) the opportunity to undertake Peer Support Training.

This training provides attendees with the qualifications needed to apply for Peer Support Worker positions as they become available in NHFT.

If you are interested in applying for Peer Support Training please email our team or complete the Express Your Interest form.

For information on filling in the form you can download the following documents:

When and where will the training take place?

Training takes place at various times throughout the year and is currently delivered online, with some self-directed study.  The training takes place one day a week over a period of 10 weeks and students are expected to attend all sessions. If you are interested in applying for training in 2023 please contact or click on the "Express Your Interest" button at the top of the page.

What will the training involve? 

The course is delivered by ImROC (Implementing Recovery through Organisation Change) and is facilitated by qualified and experienced teams with peer and professional qualifications.

The course comprises of sixteen modules and a placement. Training days will run from 10.00 until 16.00 and include short breaks and a one-hour lunch break. Two modules will be delivered on each full day of training

Each module includes: 

·          Approximately 1 hour of pre-course preparation to be done before joining the online teaching session. 

·          Online teaching sessions (2.5 hours each) 

·          An assignment to be submitted at the end of the course. 

Course structure and overview  

The first eight modules focus on the core principles and skills used in peer support. 

The second eight modules focus on the practical aspects of working in peer support. 

The first eight modules: 

In each module, we work through one or more of the core principles of Peer Support and recovery, reflect on personal definitions of these, and how they relate to peer support relationships. We also think about the key skills involved in peer support and spend time practising listening differently skills, sharing our own experiences, thinking about boundaries, and making strengths-based language choices. 

The second eight modules:

These focus on specific issues relating to peer support, including building, sustaining, and ending peer relationships, understanding the dos and don’ts of a peer relationship, equity, equality and diversity and peer support and group facilitation. We may invite guest speakers, including peer workers, staff members and experts, to share their experiences during these days as a way of celebrating different perspectives and learning from a wide range of people. We suggest additional reading material for students to read throughout the course to build on what is covered in the classroom. 

We take a peer support approach to learning – no one person is the expert. As a group, we learn from each other and are prepared to develop our understanding based on reflection and discussion. We believe everybody has something valuable and equally important to contribute. There is no single ‘right’ way to offer peer support; the course provides an opportunity to develop your understanding of what peer support means to you and how you would offer this to others.  

Work Experience Placements

All trainees will have the opportunity to undertake an observational Peer Support Work Experience placement and learn more about the Peer Support Worker role in practice. This will be organised within NHFT or local organisations and be supported by a Peer Supervisor. It will be structured around what works for the trainee and the service offering them the work experience placement.

To graduate as an ImROC accredited Peer Support Worker, each trainee will need to: 

  • Attend at least 80% of the classroom days 
  • Complete an assignment at the end of the course.

How do I find out more? 

For an informal chat and to find out more, please contact Kirstie Mycroft, Peer Support Co-ordinator, on 07842 301573 or email