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Hi folks! It was fantastic to see so many of you at Gathering Peer Voices. If you weren't able to make it there is a write up and a video of the opening presentation below. We'll be putting your ideas to good use over the coming months, starting with inviting all you current peers to the upcoming Peer Forum. Read on for more information on this and other peer related news, including three brand new peer spaces for carers and new advocacy projects for LGBTQI+ people and people from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Peer Forum
Our first Peer Forum is taking place on Thursday 4 March from 2-3.30 over Zoom. If you are a Peer Practitioner based in Edinburgh (paid or voluntary) and would like a space to discuss ideas and challenges that you are experiencing with your fellow peers, please get in touch - victoria@capsadvocacy.org. We will also use the points raised to direct the work of the Peer Community.
  
If you can not make the first meeting but would like to be kept informed about future meetings please still get in touch and let us know.
 
Gathering Peer Voices - 28 January 2021

A large number of us gathered last month to learn about and share ideas on peer practice in Edinburgh and the future of The Peer Community. The morning was made up of a presentation on The Peer Community (which you can watch if you click the video at the top of this segment), workshops on peer related topics and conversations to help us find out what people think is needed in order to strengthen peer practice in Edinburgh. Themes that came out of the conversations were –
  • Building Awareness and Understanding of Peer Practice – people wanted to promote our approach with other mental health professionals; with people who might want to access a peer space or service; and with organisations who currently or potentially have peer based spaces and employees/volunteers, in order to ensure peers have the appropriate support as well as learning and development opportunities.
  • Stigma – again, this related to building better understanding of lived experience and peer practice (see above) but people also spoke about internalised stigma, lacking confidence and having spaces to explore whether they might like to step into a more supportive role.
  • Accessibility – people discussed the digital divide; the language we use within peer work and making sure it is understandable to a wide range of people; ensuring that minority groups are aware of and able to access peer spaces and support.
  • Sharing and Exploring Ideas – opportunities for peers to share knowledge, ideas and skills; building a Knowledge Hub; sharing the Peer Collaborative film, Side by Side; linking with other peer networks outside of Edinburgh; exploring specific issues and questions that relate to peer practice.   
What does strong peer practice in Edinburgh look like?
People wanted peer spaces and services with shared values; an empowered collective voice; welcoming, safe and well facilitated groups and spaces; appreciation and understanding of peer practice amongst organisations and other professionals; well supported Peer Workers who are encouraged to practice self care; accessible services; properly funded services.
 
Thank you to everyone who attended for being so generous with your time and ideas. We hope to see you all at another gathering very soon.

 
New Peer Spaces for Carers - Drop in and Courses 

Listening Space for Carers
A drop in space for your mental health and wellbeing.
Online every Tuesday from 1pm to 3pm.
Do you care for a family member, friend or neighbour and live in Edinburgh? Join us!
Join us to:
  • Talk about how you are feeling
  • Meet other carers
  • Share, listen and receive support as a part of a group
 
Caring during Covid-19: Toolkit
This 6-week online course will explore different tools and strategies that we can use to manage anxiety and stress.
The course is open to all carers who care for a family member, friend or neighbour and are keen to learn and connect with wider community of carers.
2.00pm-4.00pm starting on Wednesday 3 March 2021

Coping with the new normal for carers
Join us to learn tools that can help you feel more relaxed and resilient
Session 1 - Breathing (4 March)
Session 2 - Mindfulness and self-care (11 March)
Session 3 - Contact and boundaries (18 March)
Session 4 - Thinking styles (25 March)
Session 5 - Resilience (1 April)
Time: 3.00pm -5.00pm
 
The drop in and courses above are currently all over Zoom.
For more information and to register please email or phone Paulina Szach - paulina.szach@health-in-mind.org.uk / 07435274586

This project is a partner in the Carewell Health and Wellbeing Partnership

 
New Peer Support Group for Carers

This group is for family members, friends and relatives of people with mental health difficulties. It's a safe place to share your experiences, listen to others and support one another. (If you prefer to just sit and listen, that's ok too!). 

Meetings are online through Zoom and facilitated by Edinburgh Carers Council.

Our first meeting will be Friday, 26 February 2:30-3:30pm

 
To join the online session or if you have any questions, please email rachael@edinburghcarerscouncil.co.uk 
 
Lothian Bipolar Group Carers Information Event

The Lothian Group are hosting an information event specifically for carers, partners, family members or friends of people living with bipolar.

The meeting will be held on zoom and we will be joined by Shirley Morris, Welfare Advisor with VOCAL (Voices of Carers Across Lothian). Shirley will be talking about her role within VOCAL and the services available.

When: Wednesday 24th February at 7pm
Meeting ID: 815 0587 1389
Please email info@lothianbipolargroup.org.uk for the password.
New Collective Advocacy Group for People from Ethnic Minority Backgrounds.
 
A new Collective Advocacy group for people with lived experience of mental health issues from ethnic minority backgrounds is being introduced by CAPS Independent Advocacy.
 
Ethnic minority groups have their own unique needs and barriers within mental health service access, and our experiences represent a group which is often overlooked and misunderstood.  This can stop people from getting the help that they need and deserve.
 
If you would like to help to change this, then this group is an opportunity for you to learn your rights and to have your say on matters involving mental health services in Edinburgh.
 
I’m Mohasin, the worker who will be supporting this group. If you are interested and would like to know more, I would love to hear from you at mohasin@capsadvocacy.org
New LGBTQI+ Collective Advocacy Group for Edinburgh
 
CAPS Independent Advocacy is setting up a mental health collective advocacy group for people in Edinburgh who are LGBTQI+.
 
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people (and those with similar identities) are more likely to face mental health struggles. In the past we’ve been less visibly represented in decision-making about mental health services. Since we know that being LGBTQI+ can affect the experiences we have accessing services, it’s important that our voices are heard. Coming together to do this in collective advocacy can influence services to better provide for LGBTQI+ people. So please get involved!
 
I’m Jacob, the worker who’ll support this group. I’m LGBTQI+ and a mental health peer. If you’d like to be part of this new group, or just find out more about it, I’d love to hear from you at jacob@capsadvocacy.org.
 
Peer Community Steering Group - Monday 1 March

The Peer Community Steering Group is an open meeting held each month to share and discuss updates on peer practice in Edinburgh and to steer the direction of the activities of the Peer Community. 

The meetings are open to all with an involvement in peer practice in Edinburgh. If you would like to attend please contact peer@health-in-mind.org.uk.

Peer Community Book Club
20 April

Reasons to Stay Alive - Matt Haig

Our first book club book is Matt Haig's Reasons to Stay Alive. Join us having read or listened to the book, ready to share your thoughts and opinions. We're meeting at lunch time so feel free to also bring a sandwich.

If you are listening to it, an abridged version is available on the BBC website - https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/series/p08jkjbl
This book contains the theme of suicide. 
Click here to register.

International Peer Leadership Network

The next International Peer Leadership Network meet up is 24 February 5-6.30pm on Zoom. 

You'll have the opportunity to meet with other peer practitioners from across the globe in order to discuss peer support, leadership and strategies to move this work forward both locally and globally.

Click here to register.

Side by Side: The Power of Peer Support

If you haven't already seen our film that we are incredibly proud of  please make sure you do! This film may be a useful aid for people who are maybe being referred to a peer work service,  for other mental health professionals who perhaps have not worked with peers workers in their team or organization before or for GPs and other workers who link people into sources of help and support. 

You can watch the full film, the shorter version or the individual stories of Vivek, Maggi, Laura, Paul, Alexis and Sineaid. We hope you both enjoy and use them!

Online Drop In 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 contact.

If you look after a peer space in Edinburgh and would like your group to be added below, please contact peer@health-in-mind.org.uk.

 
When Description  Contact 
Monday 
Weekly
5.30-6.30
7-8.30  

Tuesday 
Alternate weeks
7-8.30          
Anxiety and Depression Peer Support Group 
Health in Mind

For people experiencing anxiety, depression or low mood.   
edinburghselfhelp@health-in-mind.org.uk 
Tuesday The Listening Space for Carers
Health in Mind
A group peer space for people who care for a  family member, friend or neighbour and live in Edinburgh
paulina.szach@health-in-mind.org.uk/ 07435274586
Wednesday 
Weekly  
1-4
The Listening Space 
Health in Mind
For people who would like to speak 1:1 to a peer volunteer. 1:1 space is followed by an optional group peer space.
stuart.cameron@health-in-mind.org.uk  
Thursday 
Weekly
12-1.30
Wellbeing Space 
Health in Mind
 A peer space for exploring wellbeing.
 
anna.chmiel@health-in-mind.org.uk  
  
Thursday
Weekly
1-2
Wellbeing Space
Space and Broomhouse Hub
A peer space for exploring wellbeing
lyndsey@spacescot.org
07809904231
Thursday  
18-30
Monthly  
All ages
Monthly 
Lothian Bipolar Self Help Group 
Bipolar Scotland

A group of people who want to provide information, peer support and self-management guidance to individuals affected by bipolar.
info@lothianbipolargroup.org.uk or Facebook.  

Upcoming Peer Learning and Gatherings
All courses and workshops are free to attend

When Who What
Monday 1 March
1-2.30          
 
The meetings are open to all with an involvement or interest in peer practice in Edinburgh.
Peer Community Steering Group
The Peer Community Steering Group is an open meeting held each month to share and discuss updates on peer practice in Edinburgh and to steer the direction of the activities of the Peer Community. 
 
Contact peer@health-in-mind.org.uk if you would like to attend 
Thursday 4 March
2-3.30
Current peer practitioners in Edinburgh (paid or voluntary) Peer Forum
If you are a Peer Practitioner based in Edinburgh (paid or voluntary) and would like a space to discuss ideas and challenges that you are experiencing with your fellow peers, please get in touch - victoria@capsadvocacy.org.
 
We will also use the points raised to direct the work of the Peer Community.
Thursday 11 March
2-5
Edinburgh based peers who facilitate peer support groups or who would like to do so. Workshop – Facilitating Peer Support Groups
 
Click here for more information and to book a space
 
Wednesday 14 April
10-12
This workshop is aimed at people in non peer roles who would like to learn more in order to benefit their own practice. Workshop – Using Lived Experience in Non Peer Roles
 
Click here for more information and to book a space

  
Starts 
Thursday 15 April
1.30-4.30
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
Find out more about the course here

Please email peer@health-in-mind.org.uk to book a space or ask any questions you may have.

Qualification
Following the course attendees will have the opportunity to complete a Professional Development Award in Mental Health Peer Support at SCQF level 7
Tuesday 20 April
12.30-1.30
The meetings are open to all with an involvement or interest in peer practice in Edinburgh. Peer Community Book Club
Reasons to Stay Alive - Matt Haig

Our first book club book is Matt Haig's Reasons to Stay Alive. Join us having read or listened to the book, ready to share your thoughts and opinions. We're meeting at lunch time so feel free to also bring a sandwich.
If you are listening to it, an abridged version is available on the BBC website - https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/series/p08jkjbl
This book contains the theme of suicide. 
Click here to register.
 
Professional Development Award in Mental Health Peer Support at SCQF level 7
Following on from our 5 day Peer Work Course, you can 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. Support is offered throughout the course. Evidence of learning and its application to your practice is written. If candidates have support requirements with regards to this or anything else, please let us know so that we can discuss reasonable adjustments to enable you to access the award.
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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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