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Peer Support

Peer Support is people who understand the experience of mental illness and have themselves been able to recover can make a real difference to a person’s confidence in the recovery process.

Service user forums provide the opportunity to meet and socialise with people who have experienced mental health issues as well as a way of getting involved in what is happening in Mental Health Services.

Kent and Medway Service User Groups

Below we have listed local service user forums, please click on the area of Kent or Medway that you live in for further information.

East Kent

  • Speakup (CIC): Speakup CIC hold service user forums across Thanet and also in Dover, Deal, Ashford and Folkestone.
  • Take Off : Covers Canterbury, Coastal and Shepway areas in Kent.
  • Swale User Forum: Provide a range of forums and groups across the Sheerness and Sittingbourne area. The forums offer an opportunity to meet others and enable people to have a voice and a say in mental health services in Swale and East Kent.


  • Medway Engagement Group & Network CIC (MEGAN): The project is to provide opportunities for mental health service users, past and present, to share their views and experiences about mental health issues including mental health policy, strategy, and service provision.

West Kent

Reachout: Provide service user support and forums for people living in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Sevenoaks, Hawkhurst and Cranbrook.

Platform: Provide service user forums and support in the Maidstone and Malling area.  They provide the opportunity to socialise with other mental health service users and for people to get involved in the planning and development of mental health services.

Dartford Gravesham and Swanley Invicta Advocacy: The service user forums in Dartford Gravesend and Swanley are organised by Invicta Advocacy.

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Project SWAP Providing Training to support Peer work

Project SWAP Community Interest Company was set up in March 2012 following a programme to train 12 peer brokers in East Kent.


Project SWAP CIC

art work by Madlin Brinton

Project SWAP CIC aims are to:

  • Train further Peer Brokers to work with service users to enable them to access Personal Budgets
  • Train Peer Support and Recovery workers
  • Use the Arts as a means of aiding recovery for people with lived experience of mental distress
  • Act as enablers to other service user led groups through providing training and support
  • Provide advice and consultancy to the statutory, voluntary and private sector to encourage greater involvement of service users in mental health services

To find out more go to their webpage by clicking here.

Or to go to their facebook page click the icon on the right. Facebook Logo

To read Project SWAP’s paper ‘Peer Support: Our Perspective’ click here.

KMPT Experts By Experience

KMPT run an experts by experience Service User led group supporting research and evaluation with KMPT Services.

We are a group of Service Users and KMPT staff members and are called the ‘Experts by Experience Team’. We meet once a month to discuss and plan research and surveys. The trust asks us to visit various community and inpatient sites throughout Kent and Medway to carry-out surveys using I-Pads. The information is then turned into report format and is used to improve KMPT’s services. We often find that Service Users find it easy to relate to us as we have a shared understanding of Mental Health issues”.

To find out more about how you can get involved in the KMPT Experts by Experience group follow the link.

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National and Online Service User Support

NSUN is the National Survivor User Network. It is an independent network of individuals and groups who have experience of mental health needs and/or are using mental health services. To find out more go to the NSUN website by clicking here.

The Mental Health Forum provides an online resource for people to discuss anything relating to mental health. There are many mental health discussions listed, such as depression and bipolar disorder, as well as issues such as housing and money. There is a wealth of useful information in the posts on the forum. For more information click here.

If you have a suggestion to be added to this page, please get in touch with us by clicking here.

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