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Building Better Opportunities

What is this study?

Building Better Opportunities (BBO) is a peer support employment project led by mental health charity Mind, aiming to support those with mental health problems furthest away from the labour market into employment or education/training. Mind aims to provide employment support through meetings with an Employment Advisor and access to a peer support group relating to employment.

 

Why is this research important?

Research shows that people with mental health problems seeking employment or training/education opportunities find it increasingly difficult to successfully secure opportunities. Despite the vast number of services offering employment support, the challenges of securing and maintaining successful employment, having experienced a mental health problem, are often overlooked.

The project aims to address this and improve the prospects for people with a mental health problem who would benefit from one-to-one support as well as access to a peer support group.

Peer support is unique in the sense that it is the exchange of support between people who have ‘experiences in common’, and the relationships formed in peer support are based on mutual understanding and equality.

The combination of experiencing unemployment and mental health problems can be isolating and it is hoped that access to peer support employment groups will provide people with the opportunity to network and meet people who share similar experiences.

Previous peer support projects have shown to have a positive impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing and are becoming increasingly popular within the public health sector.  By evaluating these groups, we hope to capture the impact that the groups have on individuals as well as highlight anything that would improve the service further. We hope this will reflect existing literature that highlights the benefits that peer support can have on the wellbeing of those who take part in it.

 

How are McPin involved and how will people with experience of mental health problems be included in this research?

McPin have been commissioned to evaluate the peer support employment groups. Having recently completed and published a national evaluation of the peer support project Side by Side run by Mind, Depression Alliance and Bipolar UK, we hope to build upon our previous knowledge.

People with experience of mental health problems are involved in delivering and completing the evaluation. McPin will support and train peer evaluators within each site.

 

How long will the project run?

The project began in January 2017 and will run until December 2019.

 

Where can I find more information?

You can find more information about the Peer Support Employment Groups on the Mind website.

 

You can read about previous evaluations of peer support, Side by Side, by clicking here.

 

If you would like more information, please contact Humma Andleeb or Dan Robotham by email: HummaAndleeb@McPin.org | DanRobotham@McPin.org