What is peer advocacy in mental health?

Peer Advocacy in Mental Health is…

 Making information accessible

 Providing and discussing options

 Facilitating decision-making by the individual

 Supporting mental health service users to be heard and ensuring that what they say influences the decisions of service providers.

 Promoting self-advocacy through empowerment

 Ensuring that service users are active and informed participants in their treatment and care.

 An advocacy service provided to people with mental health difficulties by people who have experienced similar difficulties themselves.

Peer Advocacy in Mental Health has emerged as an essential tool for people with mental health difficulties because….

̧  Peer Advocacy builds up trust as the peer relationship is founded on equality and hence no power imbalance between advocate and client

 Peer advocacy is based on empathy- Often it can be easier to talk to a peer because of the shared experience and common understanding

 Peer advocacy is person centred – It is truly client focused and led as a peer advocate can only act on the wishes of the client

 Peer Advocacy empowers as it helps people build/rebuild their well-being, self-esteem and confidence and allows them to take back control of their own life

 Peer Advocacy challenges the discrimination and stigma attached to “mental illness”

 A peer advocate is a good role model for someone who is experiencing mental health difficulties as a peer advocate can offer hope that things can get better and clients who see a peer well and able may be encouraged in their own recovery

 A peer advocate is an example for others that recovery is possible!

Our Peer Advocacy Service is not

An advice service

A complaints service

A welfare rights/entitlements service

An emergency service

In case of emergency please contact:

Republic of Ireland:

The Samaritans
116 123

Health Service Executive

Northern Ireland:

0808 808 8000