This month's newsletter kicks off with a reflection from one of the new Thrive Welcome Team Workers. There are also dates for the next Peer Forum; a workshop on using lived experience in non peer roles; an opportunity for storytelling; our book club; new peer spaces for carers; collective advocacy space for people from ethnic minority backgrounds and the second ever Thrive Conference. 

My Peer Journey Through Edinburgh

Elspeth, one of Edinburgh's new Thrive Welcome Team Workers, shares how she moved into peer work. You can find out more about Thrive Edinburgh on their website.

My journey began in 2019 when I saw that Health in Mind were looking for fundraising volunteers to collect money during the Edinburgh Festivals. My own mental health history had given me a strong desire to support a relevant charity and I love to extract money out of tourists, so it was a win-win situation. During my introduction to Health in Mind I found out about peer work: a chance to use my lived experience of mental health struggles and recovery to support and empower others – sign me up!

The training to be a peer support volunteer was thorough, thought-provoking and actually a bit fun. There was a small group of us learning side-by-side, sharing experiences and practicing our listening skills on one another. My fellow peer support trainees were lovely, empathetic people and I knew I had found a special community.

After my training I started volunteering one-to-one with a person who was experiencing anxiety and depression just as I had and, sometimes, still do. It felt good to connect with someone who knew I understood what she was going through. No two experiences of mental illness are the same but there is a mutual understanding between peers that is unsurpassable.

I think there is sometimes concern that a person with lived experience of mental health struggles will reopen wounds if they talk about it. For me, it is quite the opposite. Relating to others and self reflection allow me keep on top of my mental health. Engaging in peer work helps me see how far I’ve come, how much I’ve learnt about myself and things I can still improve.

Click here to continue reading Elspeth's Story
Storytelling – Workshops and SMHAF Event 

Following on from the successful ‘Speaking (Aloud) Allowed’ event held in January. CAPS will hold another storytelling event for the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival on Thursday May 20th 4- 6pm. The theme for this year’s SMHAF is ‘normality’, which people can choose to respond to or not.

Workshops will be delivered by professional storyteller Alette Willis who worked with CAPS for the previous Speaking (Aloud) Allowed event.
Workshops will take place over Zoom for 2 hours (though this will not all be screen time, as there will be some independent working and a break in the middle ) on Friday 23 April 2 - 4pm and 30 April 2-4pm. Ideally participants should attend both workshops in order to develop their story.

Places will be limited. Please consider whether you are able to commit to both workshops (23 and 30 April 2-4pm), practice sessions and the final SMHAF event on 20 May 4-6pm. The final event will have an audience.
To register your interest or find out more, please email by Monday 12th April.
Peer Forum
Wednesday 28 April 12.30-2.30pm
Our next Peer Forum is taking place on Wednesday 28 April 12.30 - 2.30pm over Zoom. The peer forum is a protected space for people working or volunteering in a role that uses their lived experience, to come together, share their experiences and work to address issues that are important to them, in their peer roles. If you would like to attend or find out more please contact
We will also use the points raised to direct the work of the Peer Community.
If you cannot make the next meeting but would like to be kept informed about future meetings, please still get in touch and let us know.
Edinburgh Community Voices - Online Meeting
Wednesday 7th April 2 - 3.30pm

Edinburgh Community Voices is an open meeting for anyone with lived experience to discuss mental health and services in Edinburgh.  
If you would like to take part, or are interested but have any questions, please email Becky - 
Not everybody is able to take part in online meetings.  If you would still like to be involved and give  your views, you can send an email (as above),  call on 0131 554 5307, or contact by post - Collective Advocacy, AdvoCard,  Andrew Duncan Clinic, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Morningside Place, Edinburgh EH10 5HF.
Using Lived Experience in Non Peer Roles
Wednesday 14 April 10am-12 noon  

Intentional use of lived experience is an integral part of peer work and has the potential to be used in other types of mental health support. We will look at how peer workers use lived experience in their roles and how this might also be useful in other roles.

This workshop is aimed at people in non peer roles who would like to learn more in order to benefit their own mental health related practice.     

Click here to book a space
Peer Community Steering Group 
Monday 12 April

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 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 -

This book contains the theme of suicide.

Click here to book a space
New Peer Spaces for Carers

Edinburgh Carers Council - Peer Support Group
This group is open 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 okay too!).

Meetings will be held online through Zoom at 2:30 pm on the last Friday of the month and are facilitated by
Edinburgh Carers Council.

If you have any questions or to book your place, please email or call us on 0131 322 8480

Health in Mind - Listening Space for Carers
A drop in space for your mental health and wellbeing. All groups and courses are online over Zoom every Tuesday from 1pm to 3pm.

If you care for a family member, friend or neighbour and live in Edinburgh please get in touch. Join us to t
alk about how you are feeling; meet other carers; and share, listen and receive support as a part of a group.

To register, or for more information on the Listening Space and other courses and peer spaces available, please email or phone Paulina Szach or call 07435274586.

Side by Side: The Power of Peer Support

If you haven't already seen our film, grab a cup of tea and take 15 minutes to do so now! This film can be used as an aid for people who are  being referred to a peer work service, for other mental health professionals who perhaps have not worked with peers workers in their team or organisation 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!

Mental Health Collective Advocacy for People from Ethnic Minority Backgrounds in Edinburgh
What is Collective Advocacy?
When a group of people facing a common problem, with similar experiences, come together to have their voices heard on an issue that affects them.

Who is this group for?
People from ethnic minority backgrounds with personal experience of mental health issues who live in Edinburgh.

Benefits of Collective Advocacy
  • Make your voice heard; a collective voice is stronger and less likely to be ignored.
  • Get to know your rights and gain new knowledge and skills. Reduce isolation by sharing experiences with peers in a safe space.
To find out more please email or visit
Accessibility and Languages

You can keep up to date with Peer Community on our page on iThrive Edinburgh.

iThrive is your online space for mental health and wellbeing information in Edinburgh and the site uses the accessibility software ReciteMe.  Each month, we will highlight one of ReciteMe's features

Online screen reader
The screen reader on iThrive Edinburgh can read aloud and customise text for you. Key features include:
  • all content read aloud in a natural voice
  • 35 different language options
  • speed controls and word-to-word highlighting 
  • MP3 download to listen to content offline
You can try out this feature by clicking the 'Accessibility and Languages' button located in the top right-hand corner of the website. 
Get Your Thrive On! - Thrive Edinburgh Conference

Get Your Thrive On! will be held on Friday 7 May 2021 over Microsoft Teams.  Chaired by the Lord Provost, Frank Ross, this interactive online conference offers a fantastic opportunity to come together to hear about, discuss and connect on work aligned with Thrive's 4 guiding principles
  • Change the conversation, change the culture
  • Act early
  • Partnering with communities
  • Using data and evidence to drive and create change
Click here to reserve a space.             
Online Drop-in Peer Spaces
The groups below are open to both current and new group members.
All 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

When Description  Contact 

Alternate weeks
Anxiety and Depression Peer Support Group 
Health in Mind

For people experiencing anxiety, depression or low mood. 
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 07435274586
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.  
Wellbeing Space 
Health in Mind
 A peer space for exploring wellbeing.  
All ages
Lothian Bipolar Self Help Group 
Bipolar Scotland/Lothian Bipolar Group
A group of people who want to provide information, peer support and self-management guidance to individuals affected by bipolar. or Facebook.

Peer Support Group for Carers
Edinburgh Carers Council
This group is open for family members, friends & relatives of people with mental health difficulties.
0131 322 8480

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

When Who What
12 April

The meetings are open to all with an involvement or interest in peer practice in Edinburgh. Peer Community Steering Group
Contact if you would like to attend 
14 April

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

15 April

Peer practitioners (paid or voluntary)

People who would like to explore 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 to register interest for the next course which will take place this summer.

Following the course attendees will have the opportunity to complete a Professional Development Award in Mental Health Peer Support at SCQF level 7. You can find out more on out iThrive webpage.
20 April

All Peer Community Book Club
Reasons to Stay Alive - Matt Haig

Click here to register.
28 April 

Current peer practitioners in Edinburgh (paid or voluntary) Peer Forum
A space to discuss ideas and challenges that you are experiencing with your fellow peers.
Please contact
The Peer Community is a part of Thrive Edinburgh and organised by The Peer Partnership, a partnership between Health in Mind and CAPS Independent Advocacy.
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