Frequently Asked Questions
- What is peer mentoring/being a peer mentor?
As a peer mentor you will be facilitating a peer support group! Basically, this means that you will be supporting a group of the people who use our service by being present during a group.
- What can I expect?
Good conversation! Lived experiences, thoughts, feelings, and opinions are shared. Different groups have different themes and there might be some activities as well! The most important part of being a peer mentor is being able to be yourself and form positive healing relationships through that; though it’s a professional relationship, you are an equal within it.
- Will I have to lead a group?
You can if you want to! Being a peer mentor isn’t about being an entertainer, it’s just giving space for people to come together as a group and talk about what’s on their mind – so leading a group isn’t like being a teacher or hosting a dinner party, it’s not as scary as you might imagine! Really what leading a group will involve might include deciding on a subject/topic to talk about, and then discussing it in the group.
We work with all our peer mentors to build their confidence so that they can deliver a group as/when/if they feel ready. You will also never be unsupported in a group, there will always be a member of staff or other volunteer(s) with you. Co-facilitating is also an option!
- I haven’t got any experience doing group facilitation, can I still be a peer mentor?
Yes! No experience is required! Volunteering as a peer mentor is actually a great way to gain experience in group work, facilitation and leading on activities! We provide you with training and support throughout so that you can get the experience that you want from being a peer mentor!
- I think I would need some support and training to be a peer mentor, is this possible?
Absolutely! We give training to all our volunteers before they start – we don’t want to throw anyone in the deep end or feel unprepared! The training outlines what you should expect and gives you lots of tips, tricks and advice. There is always support available, through staff and other volunteers; we provide 1 to 1 and group supervision so you can always reach out to us!
- What will my responsibilities be like?
Showing up and being the lovely person that you are! Then filling in an attendance form. Most importantly your responsibility is to look after your own wellbeing – not taking on too much and making sure you get the support that you need.
- I’m new to this – how does it all work?
We do some induction training and a DBS check (free of charge to you) for you, once those have been completed, you’re ready to start! We have a few groups already up and running, these take place at the same time each week. We recommend that you choose whichever group(s) you’re interested in or available for each week and join in as a peer mentor! If you wanted to start your own group, you can be supported in doing that!
Currently the groups are online only but we will be moving into running the groups in person as well! The venues will all be community based (like function rooms) within Hammersmith and Fulham, and there will be volunteers online and in person.
Your expenses are covered!
- Will my mental health be a barrier?
Not to Richmond Fellowship! We strongly advocate that anyone with lived experience can become a peer mentor.
Having your own experiences can help you to empathise with the people who attend the groups, it can show that recovery or progress is possible and is a big part of being a ‘peer’ – that you’ve experienced similar things! We will always work to support you in whatever way will be most helpful to you and encourage you to reach out for support.
- What are the benefits of becoming a volunteer/peer mentor?
There are loads! Meeting new people and making friends, learning from others. Skill building and personal development. For many people volunteering as a peer mentor is a way of helping their own mental health and or a way of giving something back to their community. It can be great for career progression as well- giving you leadership skills, facilitation experience and being able to learn more about mental health.
It’s so important that all our volunteers get the experience that they want from volunteering. It’s such a valued and important part of our service, all the efforts that