What is a peer mentor?
A peer mentor creates a relationship between people who are around the same age. One of them being more experienced to help and support the other with their mental health, settling in etc. A peer mentor can either be a one-on-one relationship or a part of a group environment.
How I became a peer mentor?
I became a peer mentor by a member of the young people’s team within the State of Mind project contacting me to ask if I would be interested in becoming a peer mentor. I jumped at the opportunity as I thought it would be a great chance to learn about how to help others.
Why I said yes…
One of the things that intrigued me the most was that the peer mentor training and community as a whole was a safe space where I could ask questions about topics that I needed to know more about. As well as this, I got to hear stories from people similar to me who have been through mental health problems and live with disabilities.
What was the training course made up of?
The course is made up of completing a workbook with questions that are peer mentor based! I worked through the book with a group of other peer mentors in training, other peer mentors that have already completed the course, as well as a trainer from the young people’s team! We had 90 minutes zoom calls (Monday to Friday for two weeks) and we would go through the questions! These questions included, understanding peer mentoring, understanding communications skills for peer mentoring, different values and attitudes to life and society, understanding how mentoring can be used, understanding the importance of professional barriers and confidentiality and understanding the mentoring process. We have extra sessions going on next week to go through the last questions and to go over anything that we don’t understand to make us fully prepared .
What I have taken out of this course?
By undertaking this course, it has enlightened me to the dangers that not doing the right thing can have. The course has also benefited me by giving me skills that I thought I would never have and I hope to carry on with my work with mental health, even if I’m doing it on top of my main career.
What are the skills I developed/learnt?
I developed skills in how to communicate with my mentee. For example, making them feel comfortable, asking appropriate questions to get to know them and what triggers they may have and so on. I’ve learnt everyone is different and should be treated as individuals as what works for one person, may not work for another person. For example, the only way one mentee can open up is going for walks but another may open up whilst playing a football match.
I have enjoyed working with the other peer mentors and I can’t wait to work with them on further projects.
Feel Inspired? Here’s how to get involved and be a peer mentor!
If you are considering becoming a peer mentor with State of Mind I would definitely encourage you to do so. If you have any questions about the training courses (they are going on all the time!), please email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be happy to help. ‘