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Introducing our new Peer Navigator service

Fri, 23 - July - 2021

Are you a GP looking to ensure that every patient in your care sees the right professional quickly? MindWise is offering a new Peer Navigator service that works with GP practices in Belfast to connect individuals living with mental health difficulties to relevant services.

Community Mental Health Peer Navigators are trained to help individuals find information and services that meet their current needs. They have personal experience of living with a mental health condition which puts them in a unique position to offer support to those who are working on their recovery.

Our Peer Navigator Sharon Ross draws from her own lived experience of accessing secondary mental health services to ensure that people are linked to appropriate support networks which in turn should reduce the risk of future social exclusion or mental health relapse. Watch the video below to hear from Sharon about the benefits of our new service.


What is a Peer Navigator?

"My role involves working with healthcare workers in GP settings throughout Belfast to assess the non-clinical needs of individuals with mental health difficulties," says Sharon. "I use my lived experience of accessing secondary mental health services to ensure that others are linked to appropriate support networks. The primary aim is to provide personalised support to individuals with mental health needs through whichever communication medium they prefer, e.g. telephone calls, video calling or face-to-face interaction."

What does a Peer Navigator do?

"I see individuals with mental health difficulties who require extra support for their non-clinical needs," continues Sharon. "I provide a Holistic Needs Assessment which helps me to tailor the support and refer the individual on internally to MindWise's services or externally signpost them to other local organisations and community support. By having extra time to talk to a Peer Navigator about their concerns, clients supported by this service experience improvements along their road to recovery. Follow-up will ensure that all their needs have been met or discern whether further navigation and support is required."

Who can be referred?

"I take referrals from GPs and Mental Health Practitioners for individuals who need extra support addressing the non-clinical needs related to their mental health concerns," says Sharon. "I can help those 18 years and over who are requiring help to manage their condition but who do not require urgent secondary care or are in crisis. The need for mental health support is increasing annually and this service should help support GPs with the huge influx of mental health appointments. This will also hugely benefit individuals who are struggling to get support while on long waiting lists to receive further secondary care treatment or those that have been discharged from community/secondary care and don’t know how to access the further support they need."

What support does a Peer Navigator offer?

Sharon can support, empower, and signpost those with mental health difficulties to internal MindWise services, such as-

  • Advocacy Services
  • Carer Support
  • Community and Day Centre Opportunities
  • Criminal Justice Support
  • Family and Child Support
  • Housing Support and Advice
  • Money, Benefits, and Welfare Advice
  • Self-Management Courses
  • Talking Therapy

Overall, the Community Mental Health Peer Navigation Service helps to maintain engagement with mental health services, reduces the need for secondary care and helps healthcare workers manage their mental health caseload. As a result, this allows for better time management within GP surgeries and offers essential support for both the healthcare workers and the clients involved.

Want to learn more? Contact us.

If you're a GP and think your patients could benefit from our Community Mental Health Peer Navigator service, please reach out to us for more information. Phone: 07889596855 or email: 

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