Self-directed Support Peer Support Workers : The Values and Skills Required

Image of Peer Support Worker and Client

The values and skills required to be a peer support worker are firstly and most importantly I think is to have good communication skills and be a good listener. They must have a good knowledge about the subject whether it be alcohol and drug misuse or a mental health issue.

The peer support worker must be open-minded and non judgmental and have empathy, honesty and respect for the individual. They need to provide knowledge, experience,  emotional, social and practical help. Their role includes exploring solutions with the individual and knowing which step to lead the individual to next stage of their recovery.  They should focus on strengths not weaknesses and realise when the individual is ready to move on to their next stage of the recovery.

The peer support worker must be positive ,friendly, approachable and show initiative when dealing with the individual and as they have lived experience this can help as they have been in similar situations and have relevant experience but remain as equals but professional at all times.

The peer support worker can also benefit by increasing levels of self-esteem, confidence building and a sense of worth and feelings of doing good. Peer supporters can often experience an increase of their own ability to cope with mental health problems.