Solidarity in a Crisis is an out-of-hours crisis service in Lambeth, co-designed and co-delivered by service users and carers. The project will be going live on the 1st April 2012, having completed its recruitment and training of seven peer supporters who will deliver phone and outreach support for people in crisis during weekends.
The value of peer support is at the heart of Solidarity in a Crisis. Peer supporters aim to help people in distress before they reach crisis point by providing social and emotional support using their lived experiences, insight and empathy; whilst facilitating access to appropriate professional help when necessary.
The service will operate:
Saturday & Sunday
8am-2pm & 8pm-2am
The training programme for peer supporters has been handpicked from a variety of progressive services and training providers. Most notably, peer supporters took part in a two-day Mental Health First Aid training; and a two-day training session using Mindfulness in a crisis. More recently, they attended a workshop facilitated by the Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service, based on using the person centred approach to mitigate risk in a crisis. The training exemplifies the project’s shared ethos; that it is possible to approach a mental health crisis in a holistic and non-medicated way. It has been an important part of this project to recognise that active and non-judgemental listening, love, and empathy can be very effective tools in supporting individuals experiencing distress and/or a mental health crisis.
Solidarity in a Crisis has been a collaborative venture and a joint endeavour between carer representatives and Southside Partnership (part of Certitude). This partnership is an example of the importance of collaboration in designing and delivering services that promote service user and carer involvement. The process of co-production has been a steep but enjoyable experience, where negotiation skills and the value of compromise have been paramount. The points of contention have tended to be around risk management and the processes that accompany certain approaches to risk. Ultimately, there has to be a balance between positive risk taking and a more conservative approach to risk. The ‘question of risk’ is particularly evident when promoting the service to statutory providers. It has become clear that institutions and organisations have to be open to the ethos of the Collaborative and the consequences of co-production, rather than just a few individuals representing those organisations. This is a cultural shift that will take time, but that hopefully will come to fruition.
To find out more about the Solidarity in a Crisis, please contact Jessica Agudelo – Project Co-ordinator on 07795037320 and/or firstname.lastname@example.org
Authors: Emilio Reyes and Karen Hooper