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PTS Peer Supporters

What is PTS Peer Support?

PTS Peer Support is a network of staff that are passionate about supporting their colleagues within the workplace. This network is led by operational staff (not management) who have a wealth of experience, both work-related and personal, who are keen to create a mentally healthy workplace for staff. Every member of the peer support network will be supported by other peers and coordinators from each area.

 Who are PTS Peer Supporters?

PTS Peer Supporters are staff volunteers working on the road or in control who feel that they could use their skills to support their colleagues. Peer Supporters may have experienced poor mental health themselves in the past, have cared for someone with poor mental health, or perhaps have trained in this area prior to commencing their employment with NWAS.

Why does PTS need a specific Peer Support network?

PTS do already have support in place for staff, however due to the nature of the work on PTS and the fact that staff are so busy, they do not always have the opportunity to access this support. Sometimes staff feel that they cannot speak to their manager and would find it much easier to chat to a peer about their concerns whilst on shift. As the Peer Supporters work amongst their colleagues, they are easily accessible and approachable and may possibly be able to spot the signs if a colleague is having problems.

When does an employee have access to a Peer Supporter?

Peer Supporters are available to provide advice to their colleagues during their normal working hours, this should not impact on time outside of work. There are other means of support for staff outside of the normal PTS hours such as contacting the Blue Light Champions and Mind helpline. Peer Supporters are available to support staff whilst they are off sick from work (at the staff member’s request) as well as supporting them if they are on a phased return back to work.

How can a PTS Peer supporter help their colleagues?

Peer Supporters can help their colleagues in a variety of ways by offering a signposting service depending on the issue. They can arrange to work a shift with an individual to allow them time to talk, liaise with team leaders to ease the pressure a little, assist on a phased return to work after a long period of absence, challenge inappropriate behaviour as and when appropriate or simply have a chat over a brew. By being approachable and non-judgemental it is hoped that staff will feel happy talking to a Peer Supporter with even the smallest issue before it escalates into something more serious.

What does a Peer Supporter do?

A Peer Supporter is quite simply an approachable, friendly, confidential, non-judging member of staff who can offer support to all staff within PTS. They are easily identifiable by their distinctive lanyard and will carry a directory of all the different forms of support that are available to staff. They are not counsellors and will not offer advice on that basis but will signpost staff to the most appropriate level of support.

Benefit of Peer Support

NWAS wants to reduce the stigma that unfortunately is still associated around mental health to create a mentally healthy workplace. Hopefully by having Peer Supporters available for staff to talk to this will help reduce sickness absence levels relating to stress and anxiety, make sure staff absent from work are kept updated and feel supported by their colleagues and are helped back into work on their phased return.

What can a Peer Supporter expect from NWAS?

Every Peer Supporter will be encouraged to get to know other fellow Peer Supporters either face to face (when possible) or via a forum. A coordinator will be selected for each area and the overall contact for everyone will be the PTS Lead. PTS senior management and team leaders are very supportive of this initiative and will provide their support wherever possible.

How do I get in touch with the Peer Support Team?

Email: peer.support@nwas.nhs.uk

 

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