An introduction from Julie, a new member of the IMHN staff team!

I’m Julie and I am delighted to introduce myself as the new Peer Support Facilitator/Team Leader following Independent Mental Health Network being funded by the Disabled People Organisation’s Covid-19 Emergency Fund to develop Peer Support Services across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has left people with mental health problems feeling more isolated than ever before, and not being able to access the same level of mental health support as they have previously. Nearly 80% of people living with a mental illness reported that their mental health has deteriorated since the coronavirus emerged and National estimates indicate we may see a 30% increase in mental health needs as a result of the pandemic.

In response to this, IMHN’s new Peer Support project will develop and deliver a peer support service for people with severe and enduring mental health problems with the focus on reducing social isolation and helping people to develop and build skills and strategies to support their mental wellbeing and feel more connected. The project will deliver a mixture of online and safely delivered face-to-face support (subject to Government restrictions) to ensure it is accessible to all members of the community who need it. Three Peer Support groups meeting weekly will be developed, including one group specifically for those people who identify as LGBTQ+, which we know is one of the communities that is currently most deprived of mental health support. The project will also include opportunities and training for people with lived experience to support facilitation of peer support and further develop the service.

A bit about me…I have 30+ years of lived experience of using mental health services. In addition to this I worked in the mental health sector as a Support Worker/Senior Support Worker for 25 years including with Rethink and Second Step. I was responsible for co-developing the Peer Support Training Programme at Second Step which provided people with lived experience of mental health problems the skills and opportunities to gain paid work in peer support roles. I have also worked with AWP’s Learning and Development Team for 15 years co-designing and delivering staff training in the Care Programme Approach and Risk, Mental Health Awareness and Recovery from a lived experience perspective; as well as writing and facilitating courses for service users, carers and staff through Recovery and Wellbeing Colleges across the region. I have been a member of IMHN for several years, sitting on the Clarity-NSIMHN committee and representing other people with lived experience on various projects and steering groups. I am passionate about the voice of those of us with lived experience of mental health services being heard, and our expertise through experience utilised in the co-design, co-production, monitoring and evaluating mental health services. I am especially interested in Trauma Responsive Services for people with a diagnosis of Personality Disorder.

I’m so excited to be joining an organisation, led by its members, that shares my vision and values, striving to improve our mental health services and I look forward to meeting/hearing from you with your thoughts and idea’s about Peer Support and this new Project.

You can contact Julie at .

March 9, 2021 at 7:17 pm