Bipolar UK, a strategic partner in the Side by Side programme is delighted that the full evaluation into peer support is now available.

Side by Side logo

Side by Side - supported by the Big Lottery Fund - was a response to calls from people with experience of mental health issues to ensure they have access to peer support across England, to look at why it works, and to support its future sustainability.

Following the end of the programme, Mind has now published the final reports in conjunction with our research partners. Mind's website also features key recommendations for peer support in the future.

We’ve worked with three research partners – St George’s University of London, McPin Foundation, and the London School of Economics – to investigate the impact of community-based peer support on people’s mental health, wellbeing and use of services. We also worked with Mind, Depression Alliance and 45 other local groups and organisations to build an evidence base for mental health peer support in England.

Over the last two years, the Side by Side programme has delivered peer support to 17,936 people online and 3,255 in person, and promoted peer support to nearly 74,000 people.

The first peer support strategy consultation, Piecing together the Jigsaw (2013), and feedback from people with lived experience of mental ill health recommended:

  • raising the profile of peer support
  • evidencing the value of peer support
  • supporting a wide range of groups, organisations and services are supported to deliver high quality, peer-led support

Visit Mind's website to read the final reports and summaries for Side by Side.