Solent Mind celebrates peer support work

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 Solent Mind’s Kevin Gardener explains importance of peer support

Local charity Solent Mind has held an event to release new research findings about the difference community peer support can make for people with mental health problems.

Peer support can include one-to-one mentoring, groups, online communities, social groups or self-help groups.

Mind worked alongside St George’s, University of London, The McPin Foundation and the London School of Economics to undertake what is a major new piece of research into peer support led by communities. The project heard from over 750 people across nine areas of England and found that access to peer support improves people’s wellbeing and helps them manage their mental health problem. With one in four people experiencing a mental health problem every year, and three quarters of those people not accessing services, new research into support for people with mental health problems is vital.

The launch of the research findings was celebrated with a special cake and music was provided by choir Ocean Harmony.

Mind has launched an online resource called ‘Making sense of peer support’ which includes advice on where to find local peer support groups.
Solent Mind CEO Kevin Gardner said:

 “We know from our peer support work across Hampshire that these groups really help people develop their own strategies to manage the pressures of everyday life. We welcome this evaluation of peer support by Mind and our academic research partners. Lessons learned from the evaluation will inform our next steps in developing peer support through projects.”

In Hampshire, Solent Mind helps run peer support groups in Southampton, the New Forest, Portsmouth and at its Wellbeing Centres in Eastleigh, Winchester and Fareham. Activities for groups include arts & crafts, singing, walking and swimming.