Mental Health Peer Support Worker Training

Training Peer Support Workers to Support Early Intervention in Mental Health Care

Alongside UCLPartners and PPL we have used The Competence Framework published by Health Education England to create a Mental Health Peer Support Worker Training programme course aimed to improve the knowledge and confidence of Peer Support Workers (PSW) and enable them back into the workplace with an improved PSW network and skills to aid their progression.

Why is this important?
  • Mental health challenges are common, affect all age groups and are a leading cause of disability
  • When accessed, treatment might be suboptimal and, even for people with more severe mental health problems, there may be limited long term support leading to increased use of crisis care and formal admissions
  • The Five Year Forward View and the NHS Long Term Plan have sought to address this problem and have plans to significantly increase access to mental healthcare, but these plans are undermined by the limited availability of mental health staff within the system.

Peer support workers can, and already do, provide a range of evidence-based interventions which include brief (low intensity) psychological interventions for emerging and existing common mental disorders, personal and social support interventions (such as common navigation, befriending or mentoring) across the range of mental health problems, supporting self-management programmes for those with co-existing mental and physical health problems and crisis resolution interventions.

The challenge faced is that there is no standardised training and workplace progression for Peer Support Workers within North East and North Central London and Essex. Employment bands and responsibility can be different in various organisations, with varying remuneration schemes and contract types, a small number of permanent roles and a lack of standardised training. Coupled with limited support for sustainable implementation of the role, it can be difficult to develop permanent roles.

Creating a Standardised Training Programme for Peer Support Workers

For a full overview of how we approached and developed the training, see the Peer Support Workers Training In a Box.

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