Whilst being involved in one of Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind’s groups, Fraser and another member discussed how they would like to set up a peer support group for those that had experiences of anxiety and depression, as there were no groups of this type in the Middlesbrough area at that time. They spoke to a member of staff at Mind, completed the peer support training and started looking for venues.
Fraser shares: “I was a bit apprehensive at first as we were starting something new and I was concerned about what levels of anxiety and depression people may have, however myself and co-peer supporter have different skills and strengths which worked well, we were able to support and encourage the group to support each other. We started with 3 – 4 people attending the weekly sessions, these members still come to the group now. We have grown over the year and have on average between 6-8 people attending each week, with additional people coming along to the group when they feel they need support. Being a peer supporter has helped my own recovery, the personal benefits in supporting each other and seeing people progress in their own lives is really rewarding”.
Fraser also co-facilitates courses within Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind’s Connect Recovery College. The co-facilitator’s role is highly valued and an important aspect of the delivery, having combined the content with lived experience can support and encourage those on the course.
Fraser explains: “Whilst co-facilitating courses, my confidence has grown from supporting within the group to delivering sessions with the tutor. As a co-facilitator I am part of the quality assurance panel, so I also have involvement in the design and reviewing of courses, we ensure the best value for those accessing them.”
Fraser feels being a peer supporter and a peer support co-facilitator is valuable to his recovery. Week to week he looks forward to giving back and sharing his experiences and encouragement to positively support others. Fantastic examples of peer support locally!