Peer Support Line launched in Dundee
25th June 2020
We caught up with Michelle Donoghue, a Peer Recovery Development Worker with DVVA, about the recently established Peer Support Line.
The Peer Support Line is a partnership between Dundee Volunteer and Voluntary Action (DVVA), Penumbra, Wellbeing Works and SAMH. The partners were already working together through Making Recovery Real in Dundee and all have a strong commitment to further developing peer support in the city.
Reaching those in need
They identified that there were many people in Dundee who were finding things difficult but were isolated and not in contact with local organisations and services. They also knew that their Peer Workers brought lived experience and a range of skills and expertise that could ensure that people got the support they needed when they need it.
The Peer Support Line is advertised widely and people can call themselves or get an organisation or service to request a call for them. Local services such as those involved in social prescribing and providing practical support to vulnerable people have been requesting a Peer Support Line call for people seeking help – enabling the partners to reach out to more people.
Peer Support Line contact details
- Telephone: 01382 305 735 | Text: 07377 788 817
- Email: MHengagement@dvva.scot | facebook.com/MRRDundee
- British Sign Language (BSL) users can contact the line directly by using contactSCOTLAND-BSL http://contactscotland-bsl.org/device-direct
What happens when people call?
Every call is different and tailored to the persons needs. The service provides a listening ear and gives people who call the space to verbalise their feelings. The Peer Workers share their experiences which reassures people that their feelings are reasonable and understandable but also that they can finds ways through their distress.
There is a strong focus on helping people to identify their coping strategies and look at how they can use these during lockdown. The Peer Support Line has been adaptable and very quickly started offering check in calls to people. This has been popular but also has had an unexpected positive outcome in that many of those calling are now being connected into local services and supports.
Feedback from callers is that being able to talk things through with someone who understand what you are going through helps them to make sense of their feelings and motivates them to engage with support to prevent their distress developing further. Others have welcomed the opportunity to get support over the telephone and said that this was more accessible than face-to-face support may have been.
Michelle emphasises this:
People do really connect by phone. Many find more confidence in talking on the phone and you can hear their relief that they are talking to someone who understands.
It’s early days but the Peer Support Line is a great way to bring peer support to new people and to use the skills and expertise of the trained Peers in Dundee. The partners are keen that this new service will develop and be part of the mental health and wellbeing support offered in the city in the future.