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Peer Collaborative Newsletter

Welcome to your monthly update on peer work in Edinburgh

Read on to find out on what's happening in the Peer Collaborative and to get your news and information about peer work in Edinburgh.  

The Peer Collaborative brings people  together to discuss peer work, share information, learn together and improve mental health services in Edinburgh

Our Lockdown Experience
'Virtually' The People's Conference 2020

31st of July 2020 on ZOOM from 1.15pm to 4.45pm

The People’s Conference is an annual event organised by the Lothian Voices Collective Advocacy group for people with lived experience of mental health issues who live in the NHS Lothian area. This year, we will be discussing our experiences of lockdown and Covid-19.

As usual, the People’s Conference will have lots of discussion and and  interactive activities to join in with. We will  discuss a variety of topics about our experiences of lock down and Covid-19, such as access to services, motivation, isolation, and look at some of the things that have been done that have kept us connected.

If you would like to attend please get in contact with Ele on 07948 740 158 or

Side by Side - The Power of Peer Support
Online Screenings and Discussions

We made a film! If you'd like to use this film and the mini films that sit alongside it on the youtube channel to illustrate peer support and peer work we are very happy for you do do so and it would be great if you could let us know if you are doing this and what the response was. 

How Can we Encourage Connection in Online Peer Spaces
Friday 10th July

We met to watch Maggi and Laura's mini films and then discuss how we can enable emotional connection in online peer spaces. The people present who had been attending online peer spaces reported that they were feeling connection and support from the online spaces they had attended over lockdown and spoke very warmly of their experiences.
Thank you to Maggi and David for being on the panel and to Laura who was due to be also but who ironically had WIFI connection issues on the day. She kindly shared her experiences and thoughts with the attendees by email after the event instead.

Some main points from the group discussions on online peer spaces during lockdown
  • In general the online peer spaces that people had attended have felt safe and people did feel that they connected – the same wavelength and experiences were still there and people were able to offer each other support.
  • In some new peer spaces, some of the people knew each other already so the relationship transferred quite easily to online.
  • In brand new spaces where nobody knew each other before, people also felt that they connected and have developed supportive relationships with each other, including gelling more with some people in particular as you might expect to do in a face to face space.
  • In spaces that were intended for development work rather than peer support, peer support has still developed and they have become semi support spaces also.
  • The facilitator has more power in an online space – can mute or even remove people. This can be helpful/useful if something is happening that feels unsafe but could be easily overused/abused.
What has worked well
  • Consistency in who attended.
  • People make use of the hand signals available on zoom to let the group know when they want to contribute – this also gives space for people to think before they speak.
  • Good facilitation
  • Feeling safe and trusting others in the group
  • Relationships being able to develop naturally
  • Not sticking too tightly to an agenda
  • Having themes or discussion topics to get people talking and warming up to share their own stories and topics that they want to bring to the group.
  • Inviting people to contribute
  • Building online versions of informal elements of the face to face groups – eg online quizzes, having coffee breaks
  • People being able to talk to just one person using chat rather than everyone always talking to everyone
  • Offering Zoom taster sessions to new people
  • Being able to speak on the phone 1:1 as well as online group spaces
  • Getting emails with the link on the day
  • Being able to have smaller groups using breakout rooms 
  • Not everyone has been able to join from the face to face spaces.
  • Technology inequalities
  • Difficulties with technology
  • Not knowing why people who attended face to face have not been attending online.
Questions remaining
  • Is it ok to not share your own screen? Some may be unable to access otherwise due to anxieties of showing themselves on screen but it can feel disconcerting for others in the group, especially if the person does not speak either or use the chat or response features. Zoom does have a function where it shows your screen to others but you do not see yourself.
  • How to make space for informal 1:1 chats between group members. Was not felt ideal to let people join before the facilitator arrives; suggested that people could break out into separate rooms with people they would like to talk too but this is hard to organise and may lead to people feeling/being excluded. However, when face to face people do have smaller discussions within larger groups, especially at the beginning/end/in the break.
 Next Screening - Friday 21 August, 12.30-1.30
How can we ensure that peer work is a prominent part of 'the new normal'? 
As we build ‘the new normal’, how can we use this period of change as an opportunity to promote peer work in Edinburgh? 
Book a space here.

Shelter Scotland’s Time for Change, Peer and Networking Event
Friday 7th August from 11am-2pm
Shelter Scotland are hosting a free online event for anyone who has experience of homelessness, addictions or mental health challenges.  Come along and listen to our speakers share insight into their lives.

Speakers include: 
There are also opportunities to share your ideas, your thoughts, and how we can do things differently.
For more information on this event, or on Time for Change, please email
You can also visit the Shelter Scotland website, or read the recent Heriot Watt University evaluation report
Join the Zoom event meeting here:
Meeting ID: 884 958 1330
Meeting will be open from around 10:45am, where attendees can be placed into a waiting room to ensure a space at the event.
Peer Service Update -  CARDS (Rowan Alba)
CARDS (Community Alcohol Related Damage Service) provide peer support to people whose lives are affected by alcohol. Due to lockdown, they have had more volunteers come forward and currently have no waiting list, so are seeking referrals. This is for a regular “befriending”-type phone-call from a trained peer support worker.
For more information, please contact David on 0131 229 7554 or

The Edinburgh Pact
(Don't forget to mention peer services...)
The Edinburgh Pact will be an agreement between the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership and everyone who lives and works in Edinburgh. 

Please take a few minutes and let them know what health and social care means to you so that we can make sure it’s a service created by the community, for the community in Edinburgh. The survey closes on 12 August and is a designed to be an open and accessible to everyone.   
You can also find more information on the EHSCP website

Upcoming Peer Learning and Networking Opportunities

Where and When? Who? Description and Booking
Online – Zoom
Friday 21 August
12.30 – 1.30
How can we ensure that peer work is a prominent part of 'the new normal'? - Online Short Film Screening, Panel and Discussion
As we build ‘the new normal’, how can we use this period of change as an opportunity to promote peer work in Edinburgh? . There will be a panel discussion with some of the peers featured in the film on the main topic and a chance for you to ask questions and explore ideas with others.
Book a space here.

The 5 session Peer Work course has been moved online and will use Zoom

Course 1 - Starts Tuesday 18 August
1.30 - 4.30

Course 2 - Starts Tuesday 29 September

Courses are weekly and for 5 weeks
Peer Workers and Volunteers.

People who would like to move into a Peer Work role or learn more about using their own experience of Recovery in an intentional way to accompany other people through their journey.

5 Session Peer Work Course
Session 1 – Recovery
Session 2 – Peer support relationships
Session 3 – Social exclusion, inequalities, stigma and trauma
Session 4 – Power, strengths and sharing your story
Session 5 – Confidentiality, communication and celebrations

Course 1 is full.

Course 2 has spaces available. Please email to enquire. 

We do not charge for people to attend any of our courses or for the qualification.

Following the course attendees will have the opportunity to complete a PDA in Mental Health Peer Support at SCQF level 7
PDA in Mental Health Peer Support at SCQF level 7

Following on from our 5 day Peer Work Course, you can now complete a Professional Development Award (PDA) in Mental Health Peer Support. The PDA recognises, develops and celebrates the skills of those currently working and volunteering in peer support roles and those wishing to get their first peer support role.
The course and PDA are both free to attend/complete and equips students with the knowledge, skills and values which are necessary to carry out this role with confidence.
Support is offered throughout the course and evidence of learning and its application to your practise is offered through written evidence.
Physically Distanced Service Updates
Just because we need to be physically distant doesn't mean we need to be socially distant. Peer support groups and peer work services are doing their best to adapt to the physical distance measures that are currently in place. If you have any updates regarding your peer work project that you would like to be included in the next newsletter please get in touch - 
Zoom Peer Support Groups and Peer Spaces

The groups below are open to both current and new group members.

All of the groups below use the platform Zoom. If you are unable to make video calls it is possible to phone into Zoom groups. Please enquire about this with the individual group.

If you look after a peer space in Edinburgh and would like your group to be added below, please contact



How to join 

4-6 or 7-9  

(alternate weeks)   


Anxiety and Depression Peer Support Group (Health in Mind)   

A friendly peer led support group. It is open to any adults affected by depression, low mood, stress or anxiety. It offers the opportunity for confidential local support, contact with others in a similar situation and the opportunity to explore positive ways of coping with depression.  

The face to face versions of these groups are in the City Centre and Stockbridge.  

For more information and to sign up please email before 3pm on the day you would like to attend.    

If you need to phone in to the group please call us on 0131 225 8508 and leave a message including your name and contact number please state that you would like to attend the Edinburgh Anxiety and Depression group.   



Equal Access (Health in Mind)  

Online support sessions for people from ethnic minority backgrounds who may face additional cultural and language barriers to accessing mental health support. Focus is on stress management and coping skills. 

The Monday session usually takes place in Pilton. 

To register for the group sessions or for further information, please contact, Rahila Khalid on or call 07730220109. 


Anxiety Management Drop-In (Health in Mind)   

A group for people experiencing anxiety who would you like to learn about evidence-based tools to help reduce symptoms of anxiety.  

The face to face version of this group takes place in South Queensferry.  

To join an online session, or if you have any questions, please email Zoe at 


The Listening Space (Health in Mind)   

A space for you to speak to a peer listening volunteer one to one. (1pm - 1:30pm)  

An online peer support group to share, listen, and support each other.  Discussions and activities exploring how we can look after our mental health and wellbeing (1:30 - 3pm)  

The face to face version of  this group usually takes place in Gilmerton. 

For more information and to sign up, contact Jenny Green:  

For those who have limited or no access to the internet, we can also arrange for you to dial-in from your phone.    

Call or text Jenny on 07733 899 283 for more information.  



Wellbeing Space (Health in Mind)  

A supportive group for people feeling low, anxious or isolated. The Wellbeing Space meets weekly and is a space for people to share, listen and connect with each other.  

The face to face version of this group usually takes place in South Queensferry.  

To join an online session or if you have questions, please email Anna Chmiel, at  



18-30 Group (monthly)  

All ages Group (monthly)  


Lothian Bipolar Self Help Group (Bipolar Scotland)  

We’re a group of people who want to provide information, support and advice to individuals affected by Bipolar. Group members have their own experience of bipolar and we help each other to stay well.  

These groups usually take place in the City Centre.  

Go to for dates and Zoom links.  

Email or Facebook.  

Bipolar UK’s eCommunity is also available if you would like to access peer support.  


Keep in touch and help spread the word!

We also have a Facebook page and Twitter account. You can find them if you click on the social media icons at the bottom of this email. Please like/follow and suggest to friends who you think have an interest in peer work.
Copyright © 2019 Health in Mind, All rights reserved.
Health in Mind is a charity promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in Scotland. Health in Mind is a registered charity in Scotland (SC004128 and a company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland (SC124090). The registered office is at 40 Shandwick Place, Edinburgh, EH2 4RT.

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Health in Mind · 40 Shandwick Place · Edinburgh, EH2 4RT · United Kingdom

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