A leading North East-based charity, Mental Health Concern, has announced a new community mental health initiative – the largest of its kind in Newcastle’s history – creating 28 jobs to help improve access to support for those who need it.

In partnership with the Recovery College Collective (ReCoCo) and all the Primary Care Networks (PCNs) in Newcastle, the charity will hire Mental Health Community Development Workers and Peer Support Workers to support and empower people with severe mental illness in the area. This initiative is part of the NHS Community Mental Health Transformation programme, aimed at improving access to mental health support in communities across the city.

Mental Health Concern is recruiting seven Community Development Workers, based out of each PCN in the city, providing a direct link to areas and groups with the greatest need for additional support. The charity is also recruiting 21 Peer Support Workers, to bring extra resources and assistance to individuals, groups, and organisations that already help people with mental illness in the community.

The Peer Support Workers will have lived experience of mental illness and will be on the ground in their communities, to help understand local need and link up existing community support. The Peer Support Workers will know first-hand the importance of community support and empowerment in the recovery journey. Training for the roles will be provided by ReCoCo and will be focused on improving their knowledge in providing support, companionship, and encouragement to people experiencing mental health difficulties.

Adam Crampsie, Chief Executive of Mental Health Concern said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Newcastle’s PCNs and ReCoCo to provide these vital roles in the community. We know that community-focused mental health support makes a huge impact in reducing health inequality, improving employment, and getting people with mental illness on the road to recovery. This is the future of community mental health support and to make it happen, we need to go to where people need us, not wait for them to come to us.

We are now recruiting for these 28 new roles, so if you have lived experience of mental ill-health, we want to hear from you. As well as working with individuals, we want to ensure that existing groups and organisations in the community, which are making a real difference to people’s lives, get the help and support they need to continue their amazing work.”

Alisdair Cameron, Co-Director of ReCoCo said: “Peer support workers turn their experiences of problems into positives, using their knowledge of being on the receiving end to assist others and to improve practice across the board. As a peer-led and run charity, we’re delighted to see this expansion of peer support to benefit the citizens of Newcastle upon Tyne.”

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