Funding Focus on Peer Support
As our face-to-face services begin to return, new funding is allowing us to focus on peer support and improving the mental health of our service users.
Waverley Care has been named as one of eight charities to benefit from funding under a new programme to support the mental health of people living with long-term health conditions.
The funding comes from a new project - Living Well: Emotional Support Matters – developed by the Mental Health Foundation and the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, to support people whose mental health has been most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mental health has long been one of the key areas where we have been able to provide information, advice and support to service users, who often experience stigma, discrimination and social isolation linked to living with HIV and hepatitis C.
Over the past 20 months, successive lockdowns periods and restrictions have exacerbated this isolation, and widened health inequalities linked to things like poverty, homelessness, and problem substance use. As a result, we’re seeing many more people coming to us for support with their mental health.
News of the Living Well funding comes at a time when we are beginning to restart many of our face-to-face support services – and we are planning to use the funding to help us deliver improved peer support in communities across Scotland.
We are offering staff the opportunity to focus more of their time on developing improved peer support – supporting volunteers with lived experience of HIV and hepatitis C to use their skills and experiences to support others. We also want to learn from our experience during the pandemic – developing more opportunities for people to access peer support online.
Living with HIV or hepatitis C can impact just about every aspect of a person’s life, and service users have told us how valuable they find it being able to speak to someone who can relate to their experiences. Peer support offers this opportunity, allowing service users to link up with trained volunteers to work through the challenges they may be facing in their day-to-day lives.
Both in-person and online, we want to look at how we can offer one-to-one and group peer support, alongside activities to help people overcome social isolation and give them the tools to support their own mental health.
By widening the range of options, we want to make it as easy as possible for our service users to get the support they need.
We are delighted that Waverley Care was chosen by the Mental Health Foundation and Alliance Scotland to be part of this innovative new project, and we’re looking forward to putting our plans into action.