The Mentoring & Advocacy Support Hub (M.A.S.H), previously known as the Peer Support Programme, was initially developed as part of the Time to Change 300 Voices Project to support young African and Caribbean men with lived experience of mental health problems in Birmingham to build resilience and confidence to aid recovery.
This was expected to involve relevant training and ongoing support to enable network members to support each other’s mental wellbeing. In addition, the work would establish links and relationships with local organisations where support and relevant contributions could be brokered to support the men involved in the project.
The programme model was developed with reference to Mind’s objective in its 2012–2016 strategy, which stated, “Everyone in England and Wales with mental health problems [should be able to] access peer support by 2016”.
Following the end of Phase 2 of the 300 Voices Project, The Peer Support Programme secured funding from the Police and Crime Commissioners Office for a further year to March 2017.
The projects remit has now been extended to support African and Caribbean women as well as men with lived experience and the age-range now covers any participant of working age.
This new phase is a partnership between Mind and Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT), working collaboratively with West Midlands Police (WMP), Birmingham City Council (BCC) and community organisations.
Ultimately the participants of this programme will develop greater resilience and the ability to function within society despite their ongoing mental health support needs.
Additionally, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation NHS Trust has undertaken significant work around peer support and as a key partner of 300 Voices, believes the continued development of the peer mentoring element of this work should remain a priority in improving people’s experience whilst using services, alongside building their social capital and resilience and their improved interface with police officers and mental health workers.