Peer-Support Groups: Opportunities and Challenges from the UK and Uganda

Peer support workers are “experts by experience”, people with lived experience of mental illness who are empowered to take an active role in the provision of mental health care by supporting and advising fellow service users and their families. The World Health Organization recognises peer support as one element in assuring equal status in society to mental health service users. Peer support groups are now increasing in high resources settings but their presence is still small in low resources settings.

As part of the month of celebrations for World Mental Health Day, the webinar “Peer-Support Groups: Opportunities and Challenges from the UK and Uganda” brought together experts with experience in Europe and Africa to discuss their experiences of developing and implementing successful peer-support groups in low and high resource settings.

Through Peer Support I can now live independently, I have a family and I can now care for others for a better living thus a more satisfying and meaningful life. - Benon Kabale, service user and peer-support worker, Uganda

'The Psychotherapy treatment I received plus my inpatient participation in user leadership in the UK has helped to inform my current role in User Involvement in Uganda' - Edward Nkurunungi, service user and peer-support worker and Project Finance Officer for Brain Gain 2 Project, Uganda


Watch the webinar here:


About the guests

David Crepaz-Keay is Head of Empowerment and Social Inclusion at the Mental Health Foundation, UK. A former economist, statistician and long term psychiatric patient, he has been developing, delivering and evaluating service user involvement in mental health and broader health. He was spent seven years as commissioner on the board of the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health and is an adviser to the World Health Organization on empowerment and led the development of mental health empowerment indicators for WHO Europe. He led the development and delivery of self-management and peer support for secondary mental health service users, single parents and prisoners.

Cerdic Hall has been working in the field of mental health for more than 25 years. With experience as a young carer, of illness itself and as a nurse he has been privileged to work in Australia, the UK, Uganda and Gaza. He has had many roles offering clinical, training and development support however he currently works in North London as a Nurse Consultant meeting the mental health gap with local GPs. He has a particular interest in peer working as a route to a more humane and empowering approach to mental health care. He has worked with The Butabika-East London Link since 2005 to foster the user led organisation Heartsounds Uganda and the country’s first mental health peer working scheme and Recovery College. He was the Nursing Standard, International Nurse of the Year in 2013.

Edward Nkurunungi is the Project Finance Officer for Brain Gain 2 Project, Kampala. Edward has experience of both UK and Ugandan mental health services and has brought his enthusiasm and experience in his leadership role within the Brain Gain programme. He has worked in a variety of roles within the user movement in Uganda including within Heartsounds Uganda.

Benon Kabale is an experienced peer-support worker who has risen to a leadership role within the Brain Gain programme and is working as a coordinator to develop the first African Recovery College in the grounds of Butabika Hospital.


Image courtesy of Valentina Iemmi. Copyright © 2015 Valentina Iemmi. All rights reserved.

Empowerment and service user involvement
Training, education and capacity building
All disorders
How useful did you find this content?: 
No votes yet