Peer Mentors - volunteers who have overcome substance use and/or mental health issues, and now use their experiences to support others to make positive changes in their lives - are an integral part of our services.

From accompanying clients to appointments and running peer recovery groups, to simply being a listening ear, they perform a number of vital roles throughout our services. They also help make recovery visible for our clients, becoming inspirational role models.

To celebrate Volunteers' Week 2018, we spoke to some of our peer mentors - including some of our newest  - to find out why they volunteer their time with us.

Simon

“I was in a dark place for over 10 years after becoming addicted to strong painkillers. I felt like nothing would work. I was just waiting to die.

“When I did start seeking help, the support workers made me feel like I was only the person in the world every time I saw them. They actually cared.

“Now I’m in a much more stable place, I thought I want to do that. I want to help others turn their lives around.

“I used to be a successful professional earning £60k a year. I never cared about the money, but now I know more than ever that life is all about helping people and having a positive impact. For me, that’s more important than anything.”


Linda

“I was an alcoholic and using drugs, but I didn’t want to see a way out of it at times. I couldn’t believe recovery was possible. My daughter was my motivation to get through it.

“Now I genuinely feel in a recovery place. I feel like what has happened is a miracle. I’m lucky, and it’s a privilege to be here.

“I used my experiences to identify with people who are on that same journey I made. I engage with them where they are and help them reach their destination.

“The experience of supporting others has been amazing. You learn more and more about yourself every day.”

Toni

When I was using substances, my life was a nightmare.

“When I came out of it, I thought now is the time to be positive and help others. I hate seeing other people stuck on their recovery. I know what that is like, so I can help.

“Even the smallest little thing can help them and you don’t even realise at the time.

“Peer mentoring helped me see strengths in myself that I never knew I had.”

Deb

“SHP helped me change my life.

“When I was through my recovery, I wanted to give back and provide hope to others. They often say that one alcoholic immediately knows another alcoholic. I can truly relate to the situation each person is going through.

“My main message is that it is possible to come out the other side. If I can do it, you can do it.”

Tarik

“I didn’t plan for any of this. I used to look back on those 10 years of using substances as a waste.

“Now I think about it completely differently. It wasn’t a waste. It was gaining valuable experience.

“I’m looking forward to helping people turn their lives around. You never forget that moment, that turning point. If you support someone through it, they will always remember you.”




Tony

“I’ve been doing peer mentoring for some time, but I still get a buzz from supporting the clients.

“I particularly enjoy when I escort somebody to rehab for the first time. I can really relate to how nervous they are feeling.

“Becoming a Peer Mentor has given me a new purpose and clearer direction in life.”



Find out more about peer mentors at SHP.

If you’re interested in peer mentoring yourself, get in touch with Rosie Fowler at [email protected]