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what is peer support?

Peer support happens when someone provides support to another person with whom they share similar experiences.  At Brook RED we base our peer support on the foundation of having the shared experience of working toward recovery from a mental health concern.  This shared experience of recovering is what binds us together as a community.


An excellent analogy for the way we think about peer work is buying a bicycle: when you’re buying a bicycle you really want to be talking to someone who has ridden one before.  Ideally, you want to be talking to someone who is passionate about riding and does so on a regular basis.


Peer support is integral to recovery.  It allows for:

  • building and maintain authentic and mutual connections with peers;

  • being genuinely empathetic and non-judgemental;

  • sharing our hope, knowledge, and experience and show that recovery is real and possible;

  • challenging ourselves and others to fully explore and engage in recovery;

  • sharing strategies that have worked for us; and

  • challenging stigma and discrimination by openly demonstrating recovery and the skills and abilities that people who experience mental health challenges have.


We believe that there is no wrong place for a peer worker along the recovery journey, so we provide a broad range of peer support such as building hope, liaising with housing providers, advocating with services, figuring out what recovery strategies might work, or just about anything that one might encounter while working on holistic recovery.  We think that the best peer work occurs where a lived experience of recovery comes together with resourcefulness, knowledge of practical matters, and social justice values.  We think of peer work as less of a particular tool and more as the bag we hold our tools in – that is to say that our experiences of recovery change and reshape everything else that we know and all of what we do.

Our approach to supporting people in distress
We believe that suicidal distress is a normal and potentially ongoing human experience.  Our goal, when supporting people, is to explore their distress.  Some of the ways in which we explore distress are to:
  • engage with the person and their feelings of distress
  • encourage ownership of narrative and experience
  • work alongside people to identify and discover internal and external coping strategies
  • normalise feelings of distress through appropriate and intentional use of our knowledge and lived experience
  • work alongside people in their development towards tolerating distress
  • challenge ourselves and others to fully explore and engage in recove

If you want to know more about how we do peer work at Brook RED please feel free to contact us.

Brook RED proudly endorses the Charter of Peer Support.

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