Women Side by Side: Evaluation of a women’s peer support programme

For information about this project, please see the following:

Project reports:


Outline of our evaluation:

Blog series on the value of peer research in this evaluation:

What is this research?

This is an evaluation of a women’s peer support programme run by the mental health charity Mind and Agenda – the Alliance for Women and Girls at Risk. The programme aims to increase the provision of gender-responsive mental health peer support for women experiencing, and at risk of developing, mental health problems. The programme will have a particular focus on supporting women experiencing multiple disadvantage. This could include but is not limited to homelessness, drug and alcohol misuse, abuse and violence, and contact with the criminal justice system. The programme will fund gender-specific peer support initiatives in England and Wales, delivered primarily through the women’s sector. It will share learning around effective gender-informed peer support with the wider mental health and community sector.

Why is this research important?

This research will increase our understanding of the effects peer support can have on the mental health and wellbeing of women experiencing multiple disadvantage. This is particularly important as many support services tackling these disadvantages, for example homelessness and substance abuse services, do not address women’s needs sufficiently because they rarely use gender-responsive approaches. The research will also establish how the mental health and women’s sectors can work in partnership effectively, and how this can increase the capacity of grassroots organisations.

How is McPin involved in this research?    

The McPin Foundation worked with St George’s, University of London, to explore partnership working between organisations in the mental health and women’s sectors. This involved looking at values underpinning gender-responsive peer support as well as individual wellbeing outcomes of women engaging in peer support. As part of this, we employed five women with experience of mental health difficulties and multiple disadvantage as regional peer researchers to support data collection and analysis.

What is the current status of the project?

This project is now completed.

Where can I find more information?

To speak to a researcher, please contact Tanya Mackay by email: