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Like buses....: Announcing PeerSpace 3: Aspiring and PeerSpace 4

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

Typical isn't it? You wait all year for a new peer mentoring group and then two come along at once! We are thrilled to announce not just one but 2 brand new PeerSpace groups starting this Autumn.

PeerSpace is for you if you are interested in gathering with your peers to talk about the challenges and celebrations of navigating the regulated mental health scene with your lived/living experience of mental health difficulties.

As the leaves fall here in the UK and the chill in the air descends, take refuge and comfort in our completely online peer mentoring programmes. Gather with us, around all of our unique lived experience of navigating mental health challenges as a regulated mental health professional. I’m imagining us all hunkering down around a fire at this point with cups of something warm and nourishing in our hands.... but, as we are a global network, PeerSpace will operate via zoom, once a month, over 8 sessions. You will find a warm welcome here amongst our community, with whom you will share a wealth of kindness, experience and hard-won wisdom.

We have taken on board feedback from Peerspacers and this time we are offering two slightly different PeerSpaces. ‘PeerSpace 3: Aspiring’ is for you if you are actively working towards a training course for a career in mental health and you also have lived experience of mental health difficulties. ‘PeerSpace 4’ is for you if you have already begun training or are a qualified regulated mental health professional, with lived experience of mental health difficulties.

Both PeerSpaces will cover very similar themes, and having two groups allows us to approach the themes from the differing perspectives along the career journey and will increase that all important sense of shared experience within the group. Themes we will explore together include structural stigma, giving back internalised stigma to the professions to take responsibility, intersectionality, busting some myths around lived experience and competence, us vs them, and exploring your choices around sharing.

We are very excited to be in the final stages of our first independent evaluation of PeerSpace, and we will bring you the data as it comes in, but I am happy to share my own experience of going through PeerSpace here to give you a sense of what it might be like.

In the first PeerSpace meeting, I felt immediately a sense of being slightly healed, just by the fact of seeing several other faces, albeit on a screen, belonging to people who knew something of what I’d experienced without me having to tell them- there they were, evidence that it was never just me, and therefore it wasn’t my fault. That was an incredibly powerful experience from the first session, which built as the sessions went on. Generally, throughout, I felt supported, contained, cared for, listened to, believed and uplifted. There were certain sessions where I felt I had more to say than others, in which case I usually was in touch with a lot of anger and injustice, but then in others I felt protective towards others and like I wanted to lift them up or was particularly moved by another person’s experience. The themes of the sessions really resonated with my experiences, and PeerSpace put words onto aspects of my experience that I hadn’t had before, and balanced the supportive aspects with more intellectual understanding around the very particular experience of being a MH professional with lived experience. The change I felt in myself, at the end of the sessions was, I’m sure, in part due to the power of the group, the social contact, the sense of this being a collective experience rather than an isolated one. I had previously had individual mentoring and the value and power of the group had a real added value that I’m so glad I had the chance to experience.

We know here that this type of peer mentoring is restorative, important and recommend it to anyone who might have internalised any shame or stigma around their lived experience and wants to excise that toxic stuff as they navigate or begin their career journey in the regulated mental health professions.

If you are interested, go to our Mentoring page and book an initial conversation with us to explore if PeerSpace is helpful for you.


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