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Peer Support

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Our Peer Support Workers


My own lived experience has been a crucible of transformation, which has shaken and challenged me to my core, and deeply enriched me.  This experience shapes my work at WALSH with the people I support. I have also been deeply resourced through my extensive training in psychotherapy, and am inspired and guided by the principles of Intentional Peer Support.  I believe that the heart of Peer Support is a respectful, ethical, mutual, real relationship that naturally fosters growth for both people.  Nau te rourou, naku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi.


There was a lack of hope for me when I became unwell. I was challenged by a lot of anxiety, hearing of voices and required support from family and mental health services. I found hope after knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel. I believe recovery is possible especially if you know if one person can do it, so can you! In sharing and telling my journey of my ongoing recovery it’s my aspiration to be able to hold the hope for other service users. My role as a Peer Support Worker is also introducing the role to people in GP practices. I found writing poetry, having a few friends I can trust and understand me, reflecting on myself where I have come from in my journey, and arts and crafts has helped me so much. Having my son born this year has enlightened me to see I can do it when I remove negativity from myself and work on my barriers. Kia kaha.


I am a fifty year old German male, living in West Auckland and Aotearoa for the last fifteen years. I was a sole child and mental wellbeing was of no concern to my family or myself when I grew up. I believed myself to be the one who is different, difficult and at fault when I wasn’t coping or performing to expectations. For the longest time I was play acting large parts of my life rather than living it. Many years and crises later I am very grateful for those individuals that at times have been at my side. I am grateful to the warm, curious and caring people that have supported me and taught me how to find more of myself. Peer support means to continue the journey towards growth and healing while acknowledging that by now I may have something worthwhile to offer to others.


I am a Ngapuhi woman raising a large whanau and believe that to be a strength on its own. I am a strong believer in the Te Whare Tapa Wha model that sets a platform in all aspects of my life. It is through my life experiences that has brought me here to where I am today. I prefer to say that I have a “living” experience in Mental Health. “Living” because I am constantly working on things and doing things to keep myself well. “Living” because I continue to face challenges in my life, some of which I overcome and some which I learn to be at peace with. “Living” because I continue to face barriers in my life. It’s working through these living experiences that I have been able to learn about myself, I have been able to allow myself to grow and been able to broaden my horizons. That’s when I recognised what Hope looked like. I’d like to share hope and I look forward to walking along side others on their journey. To celebrate strengths and wellness, and to promote independence and growth.


I have been walking beside people as a Peer Support Worker for a good part of seven years, of which four have been with WALSH Trust. I have four grown children and after having my third child I got post-natal depression which made my walls of security and identity come tumbling down. This opened up a world that I didn’t know existed within me, a world that crumbled beneath me for many years. My recovery was a long one and one that I believe has enriched me as someone who can hold suffering on one arm and hope on the other. For many years other people held my hope for me until I could finally take it and dare to dream. Through my experiences in Mental Health and many other services in the community I can see an oasis of resources within the community just waiting to be tapped into. Not one fit suits everyone but I am willing to stand beside you as you find what fits for you. I consider this a huge honour to be invited on this journey with you.


When an insightful friend told me he thought that my life’s theme was transformation through suffering I felt very despondent. For many years my struggles shrouded me like a shabby old overcoat. But by using mindfulness and Radical Acceptance practices I was able to slowly throw off that worn out old coat. Then it dawned on me that without suffering there couldn’t have been a transformation. Now I am honoured to be able to walk beside peers on their own journeys as they shed their own layers of struggle and discover the true preciousness of life.

Janeine Janeine's story to come