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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
How can we ensure that peer work is a prominent part of 'the new normal'? - lunchtime mini screening and discussion
Friday 21st August

Vivek, who was one of the peers featured in Side by Side spoke about mutual aid (a voluntary reciprocal exchange of resources and services for mutual benefit) as a key feature of the community response to covid, and of how peer support can be seen as being a form of mutual aid. You can watch the short film featuring Vivek above.
The group discussion that followed focused on –
  • Peer support happens in lots of environments and when people see it happening, they use it as a source of support and connection. Fittingly for the times, one person described peer support as something that ‘spreads like a healthy contagion’.
  • All workplaces should have a system of peer support for staff.
  • Organizations and workplaces need to take it seriously and that they will gain from peer support taking place internally. For effective peer support to take place in an organisation there needs to be will and conviction and the people at top need to be on board. If it’s not taken seriously it won’t work. It’s not just about looking good. It needs to be more than superficial
  • Pressures of work place (especially now) were discussed and the importance of keeping in touch with each other and supporting each other.
  • Trade Unions – Mental Health is a workers rights issue. It not be just top down but also mobilizing from informal culture. This is why it is important that people have the opportunity to know each other.
  • Having Mental Health First Aiders with lived experience – people felt they would be more likely to go to them when they needed to talk to somebody in the workplace.
  • Peer support in a work place is not a replacement for other services – still need sick leave, occupational health and rights.
  • We can all learn from the peer approach and gain skills even when not in a peer work role
  • Part of the peer work role is to advocate for the recovery approach.
  • The importance and power of equality and vulnerability.
  • When there is a shortfall of funding, people saw peers having to plug the gaps – need to draw boundaries for self and around the practise. Peer Workers need guidance and support in order to do this and keep safe.
  • It was felt that Health and Social Care funding for grassroots peer support can be problematic but peer support groups need infrastructure and support for at least some degree of organising. Problem of mutual aid being anarchic is it puts all the cost on the people who need the support.
Next Peer Lunch - Monday 19 October, 12.30-1.30
Returning to in person peer support groups?
For peer support groups to return to face to face, what do we need to consider in order to do this as safely as we can? 
Book a space here.

Side by Side - The Power of Peer Support
If you'd like to use Side by Side and the mini films that sit alongside it on the youtube channel for training or to illustrate peer support and peer work we are very happy for you do so. It would be great if you could let us know if you are doing this and what the response was. You can find the full length film here.
Staying connected
Insights and inspiration from people across Scotland on staying well during and after lockdown.

It is important that the voices and experiences of people from across the country influence thinking around how we support good mental health and wellbeing as we move through and out from the lockdown. Sharing learning from their online conversation cafés, Scottish Recovery Network have launched a set of resources (report, podcast and animation) which tap into the knowledge, skills and lived experience of people from different communities; particularly those living with mental health challenges.
Staying connected resources -

Upcoming Peer Learning and Networking Opportunities

Where and When? Who? Description and Booking
Online – Zoom
Monday 19 October 

Peer Working Lunch - Returning to in person peer support groups?

For peer support groups to return to face to face, what do we need to consider in order to do this as safely as we can?

This is a space for peer workers and allies in Edinburgh to come together in order to share information and ideas. It's online so you will need to bring your own sandwich along with your opinions.

The discussion will take place on Zoom. The link will be emailed on the morning of the session.

Book a space here.
The 5 session Peer Work course has been moved online and will use Zoom

Starts Wednesday 11 November

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 is full. Contact if you would like to go on the waiting list. 

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 

5.30 - 6.30 or 7-8  

(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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