Peer Representation

Peer Specialist and WaRP logoWe regularly consult with individuals, local peer groups and carers to gather views about services, and help identify areas that can be improved. We feed this information back to the people responsible for the planning and provision of mental health services in your area, i.e. NHS providers and commissioners, local authority services and other agencies.

There is a national agenda encouraging lived experience participation in the planning and delivery of mental health services. Now is an ideal opportunity for people to have a strong influence on the development and delivery of mental health services in their own locality.

All Peer Representatives and Peer Specialists have lived experience of mental health problems and may at some time have accessed, or still be accessing services for their own mental health difficulties. We feel gathering the views of people with lived experience puts us in an ideal position to help shape services that are relevant, current, and utilise best practice. We are employed as your representatives.

History and Funding

The original Service User Representatives project commenced in 2005. We established effective relationships with mental health service providers, and Forum peers are now members of many NHS development groups and other committees that help facilitate improvements in service provision.

Over the last few years the Forum has gained a reputation for advocating the views of people with lived experience of mental health problems and mental health services, in a balanced and professional manner. This is echoed by the number of invitations we receive at a local, regional - and in some cases national level to be involved in all aspects of the implementation of mental health services. Forum peers now work in partnership as Peer Representatives and Peer Specialists with local statutory colleagues.

A charity's success is dependent upon many factors, including the importance and effectiveness of its projects, plus a little luck. The Forum was very fortunate and proud to have the original SUR project endorsed by the Big Lottery Fund, who in September 2007 provided considerable funding of almost £100,000 ensuring the future of the project for an additional 5 years.