Peer support - a Call to Arms

Peer support, put simply, is people supporting each other. It can take many forms, but what makes it peer support, and what makes it work is that the people doing it have something in common. The more they have in common, the more effective it seems to be.

Not everyone gets that, in fact some people seem to believe the opposite, that you can't do it without training, qualifications and approval from a mental health professional.

Peer support is special and precious; it's about what people can offer others, not what gets done to them. I only made the long journey from hopeless mental patient to activist to running a national programme of self-management and peer support for Wales, with a massive amount of support from my peers, from people who could demonstrate ability, not be constrained by disability.

I don't want peer support to be another therapy provided by professionals, I want service users to lead the way, set the standards and deliver and reap the benefits.