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Peer Support: The Bridge Network, School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham

Our Education team have been working alongside students and staff at the University of Nottingham’s School of Health Sciences to co-design a brand new, student-led peer support initiative ‘The Bridge Network’. Last November, the Peer Support Training team successfully delivered an innovative, accredited training course, which not only prepared the student volunteers to become peer supporters and facilitators of groups but also involved supporting the group to design and plan how they would like the support network to run.

Launched on 1 February 2018, The Bridge Network is based on a peer support model in which volunteer student peers who themselves have experienced mental health challenges provide group based support for other students to promote mental wellbeing. Student peer group supporters can share experiences, help provide role models for coping, recovery and aid in generating joint solutions, practical advice and emotional support.

Read more: Peer Support: The Bridge Network, School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham

New film launched by the Peer Support team

The Peer Support Training Team has launched its new film! Following the success of their tandem-inspired film last year, the team has co-produced another exciting instalment in collaboration with Self Help Services, based in the North West.

Having developed a strong relationship with Self Help, founded on the principles of peer support, the team wanted to take the opportunity to share this with a wider audience, as a celebration of true co-production and the power of peer support.

Emma Watson from the Peer Support Team said, “The film involves trainers working alongside peer supporters and staff members from Self Help Services. We used the idea of building and decorating a marquee to illustrate how we had come together to build something exciting and creative within their organisation. We learnt so much and wanted to show that implementing peer support is a two way process, where we all learn from each other. Everybody contributed some of their experiences of peer support and co-production in interviews which brings the film to life.”

Peer support draws on the strengths of people with lived experience of distress to provide mutual support to people going through similar experiences. People say that talking with someone who has 'been there' has helped them to find a way forward, and realise that they're not alone.

Peer Support - a shared journey

The Peer Support Training Team is delighted to launch their long awaited tandem-inspired film, highlighting the concept of a shared journey.

The film has been developed with fellow peers and colleagues from across the Country to promote the work that the training team is leading, in order to establish a national peer support network.

Peer Support - an unstoppable force

Working with Devon and Cornwall Police Force

The Peer Support Training Team has continued to build on its position and expertise as the first nationally accredited education provider in the field of peer support training. Now that we have developed and delivered the accredited training across the country to over 500 trainees, our national knowledge is increasingly recognised with requests for consultancy support, bespoke training packages and evaluation of its implementation. One latest example of our consultancy work is with Devon and Cornwall Police Force.

The IMH supported this organisation to introduce a new peer support service and develop the role of volunteer Peer Supporters.  The time spent in supporting the projects development has paid dividends in terms of Devon and Cornwall’s ongoing engagement with the principles and values of peer support. To find out more about the project read an overview report here.

Peer support training


The Institute of Mental Health's Peer Support Training team has a range of training courses available to help equip organisations to embrace the recovery agenda in mental health and support the development of skilled and informed Peer Support Workers. Our courses include the first nationally accredited peer support training module in the UK.

For more information on Peer Support training provision or how to book on any of our courses, please contact:

Marissa Lambert
Peer Support Training Lead
Telephone: 07766 733179 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

All the training is delivered by two trainers, who between them have lived experience of distress and clinical expertise, grounded in an academic understanding of recovery and peer support.

The use of co-production ensures an inclusive environment in which mutuality and reciprocity enable everybody to learn from each other. By being strengths based it acknowledges that everyone is able to contribute something to the shared learning process. These values, coupled with a safe and supportive learning environment create a training experience which is truly recovery focused.

Peer Support training making an impact

The Peer Support Training Team has recently received feedback from a student in the form of an animated presentation. The student, Clare, has used the presentation to guide us through her challenges and how peer support training has helped her. View the presentation here.

Peer support podcast

Listen to our peer support podcast to hear the views of one workshop participant.

What we offer

We offer a range of learning opportunities including:

  • Peer support accredited training – an 11-day course for up to 16 people. Areas covered include what is peer support, codes of conduct, active listening, strengths spotting and understanding differences and diversity
  • Short courses, master classes and workshops – available as introductory, awareness level or refresher opportunities to prepare for longer courses or to build on existing knowledge and skills
  • Train the trainers – an accredited five day course covering learning styles, lesson planning, evaluation and assessment and  co-facilitation skills
  • Coaching and supervision – workshops to enable you to utilise the skills of coaching to support and enable people
  • Consultancy work and team supervision around organisational readiness for peer support workers and bespoke training tailored to meet service needs
  • Evaluation work – see information below

For more information on Peer Support training provision or how to book on any of our courses, please contact:

Marissa Lambert
Peer Support Training Lead
Telephone: 07766 733179 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Evaluation work

The Peer Support Training Team and the Evaluation Unit Team at the Institute of Mental Health have joined forces to offer co-produced evaluations to mental health projects across the UK.

The Evaluation Team draw on their years of experience in evaluation and use their ability to undertake robust quantitative analysis to complement the approach of the peer support training. The peer support trainers have a broad experience of evaluating mental health focussed projects using predominantly qualitative methods. They use the values of recovery and their experiences of working with mental health services to inform their strengths-based, supportive approach to evaluation. The peer trainers also bring their lived experience to understand complex situations from the perspectives of staff members, service users and carers. The use of lived experience in research design and implementation has been shown to produce outcomes which are more relevant and helpful.

Read more: Evaluation work


Following a successful collaboration with Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, the IMH Peer Support Training team have shared the lessons learnt during the implementation of a Peer Support Worker pilot project within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. The project aimed to reduce the barriers experienced by young people and carers during the process of transition between Child and Adult Mental Health Services.

The paper combines reflections of staff, Peer Support Workers and trainers in order to share the lessons that may be taken from this project. This includes a rough guide for those hoping to employ Peer Support Workers to support transitions:

Lambert, M., Matharoo, R., Watson, E. & Oldknow, H. (2014). Supporting transitions in child and adolescent mental health services: A rough guide to introducing peer support. Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice,Vol. 9 No. 4, pp 222-231.


For an overview of peer support approaches and guidance on implementation visit the ImROC website: