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Dean’s story: His journey as a Peer Support Worker


Eight years ago, Dean was a Peabody resident receiving floating support for mental health where a support worker regularly visited his home and gave him tailored support.

Published: 19/04/2024

In 2016, Dean began working a two-week peer support course. And at the end of it, he was offered a paid part-time job at Peabody as a Peer Support Worker. We asked Dean about his experience working on the Care and Support team.

What is a Peer Support Worker?

Being a Peer Support Worker means I have lived experience of a particular issue – like mental illness or homelessness – and I help other people who are going through similar things. It’s really important to provide peer support in our mental health services, because it gives people empathetic support that helps them recover their wellbeing.

What does your role involve?

I’m mainly based at one mental health scheme, but I do visit other schemes to support people. It’s a varied role and there’s no limit to what it might involve, so as well as supporting people I also help organise events and I run the gardening group.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I love my job because it involves working with so many different people. I’ve been there and I’m still there, so it’s important to say: “don’t give up, you can get to where you need to get to.” By sharing my own experiences with them, I can help improve their lives.

I’m not a person to sit down and type on a keyboard. I’m very hands-on, so I like making, building and creating things. I've loved being able to make a big difference to Prout Road and our customers.

Life at Peabody’s great because we’ve got some lovely gardens and outdoor spaces, and they’re hidden away like gems. The gardening group goes around between different schemes and brings people together in nature. If any of our customers don’t seem interested, we just start doing the gardening anyway - once they see us doing it, they tend to get involved.

How has being a Peer Support Worker improved your life?

It’s helped me get back into work. I was in full-time work previously, but then I relapsed and went back to square one. Having a part time job should support me back into long term work. I get tired very easily sometimes and doctors didn’t want me to go full-time because every time that happened I relapsed.

Being a Peer Support Worker has been a learning experience for me, especially around how to react to people. Before, if someone came up to me I’d maybe respond negatively, but now I'm more relaxed. Having the backing from my managers and team has been a big support, especially as I have dyslexia. I’ve been here this long and it’s been really good.

If you’re interested in opportunities working in Care and Support, visit our careers page.

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