Recent research from Mind shows that nearly one in five people from rural communities keep their struggle with mental health to themselves as they don't know anyone that would understand.

Over half of this group don't want to speak about mental health as they don't want to burden someone with their mental health issues. This is despite over 80% of people surveyed saying they felt good about themselves when they are there for people they care about.

Peer support groups offer a space to share experience of mental health and Bipolar UK has been working with Mind and other peer support projects funded by Big Lottery. The Side By Side programme has been exploring the benefits of peer support, such as support equally given and received by a group of people with mental health issues.

Side by Side logo

Bipolar UK has been offering Support Groups and Mentoring services as part of Side By Side in three areas:

  • Rugby, Coventry and Northampton
  • Blackpool, Blackburn, Darwen and Fleetwood
  • Stockton, Middlesbrough and Darlington

Julie Walker, Bipolar UK’s programme lead, said:

"Sharing a problem with someone who has been through the same thing can help lighten the load. This is particularly true when you experience a mental health problem, which is why we’re interested to explore the power of peer support. Peer support provides a fantastic opportunity to use difficult experiences as an asset to support and be supported by other people who have experienced mental health problems. Through the local hubs championing peer support programmes we hope to empower local services to offer peer support, gather evidence for its benefits and share best practice."

Find out more about Side By Side and Bipolar UK's involvement.