Webwatch: Peer Chat – New mental health podcast explores the power of peer support

Launched by the Scottish Recovery Network, the Peer Chat podcast shares insights and inspiration from people using their lived experience of mental health challenges to both develop peer support approaches and help others.

This new ‘in conversation with’ series features a different guest and theme each episode with a view to exploring the role and value of peer approaches and why they should be embedded in mental health support.

The series’ first guest is Rai Waddingham (pictured) from Behind the label. Rai is an independent trainer, a writer and an Open Dialogue Practitioner. Rai hears voices, sees visions and has a whole range of experiences many label as ‘unusual’. At times these have overwhelmed her, leading to a range of diagnoses she no longer identifies with. Rai managed the London Hearing Voices Project for many years.

She has worked with people who hear voices or have unusual beliefs across youth, adult and prison settings. Rai is now Chair of the English Hearing Voices Network. She is studying for a PhD in Survivor Knowledge.

In this Peer Chat episode Rai shares her experiences of participating in and facilitating peer support groups over the years. Talking about peer support Rai said: “It’s something around building up knowledge, it’s a bit subversive really. We’re in this field where professional and academic knowledge takes up a lot of space. And they’ve got their value, but many of us have had our experiences overwritten, obscured, reframed, interpreted in ways that don’t feel comfortable.

“Peer support groups allow us to kind of find our own stories and connect with that and build up our own knowledge, separate in many ways to the professional knowledge. And a place of empowerment, I guess. It’s where I learned that I had something to offer.”

Peer Chat is available to listen to on the Scottish Recovery Network podcast channel or to watch on the organisation’s YouTube channel.

BSL interpretation, subtitles and transcripts are provided.