Find out more about PeerTalk
PeerTalk is a national charity that provides weekly volunteer facilitated peer support groups for people living with depression, anxiety and related distress.
PeerTalk is an independent charitable foundation.
PeerTalk offers a forum for sharing and listening, providing encouragement and, (more importantly), hope to attendees. This informs what we measure our effectiveness against and how we do it. As a result of practical suggestions on coping with depression offered by other participants, individual attendees report improvements in several areas, including well-being, (in particular, self-esteem), and the ability to manage depression on a day to day basis. PeerTalk’s monitoring and evaluation (M&E) processes are specifically designed to reflect and capture this. Impact measurement includes collecting data on: the ability to manage difficult situations on a day to day basis (resilience); overall improvement in mental health (well-being); the ability to maintain relationships, avoid isolation, and participate in wider community activities (friends and family); and the ability to man-age work situations and remain engaged in the workplace (employment).
Since 2017 PeerTalk has established twelve support groups and has trained 191 volunteer facilitators of which 110 are currently active. Volunteers offer a minimum commitment of eighteen months, typically to facilitate the support groups on three consecutive weeks per quarter, and to attend regular volunteer facilitators meetings. The support groups are modelled on those provided in Ireland by the charity Aware who have hosted a national network of forty such groups over the past thirty years. PeerTalk aims to establish one hundred such groups throughout the UK.
Our groups meet in Whitley Bay, Gateshead (Tyne & Wear); Settle, Skipton (North Yorkshire); Bradford, Batley (West Yorkshire); Warrington (Cheshire); Preston x 2, University of Central Lancashire (North Lancashire); Guildford (Surrey) and Bordon (East Hampshire). Future groups are being planned in the University of Sunderland (Tyne & Wear); Leeds Beckett University (West Yorkshire); Huddersfield (West Yorkshire); Sheffield (South Yorkshire); Farnham (Surrey); Rochdale and Wigan (Greater Manchester). All these groups are in response to a local request and all the groups are supported by locally recruited volunteers, many of whom have lived experience of their own of depression or have family and friends affected by it.
PeerTalk’s aims include raising awareness about depression and challenging the stigma often associated with it. PeerTalk offers presentations to community groups that provide information around depression, encourage good practice in communicating with and supporting people who live with poor mental health and how to signpost people to mental health services if necessary. PeerTalk also aims to be able to signpost family members and friends to supportive advice and counsel.
PeerTalk support groups are modelled on the successful work of Aware and a video of such a meeting can be seen here.