3. Prioritise Accessibility and Inclusivity
The design and delivery of peer support services should respond to the needs of particular communities. Socioeconomic background, family situation, geographical location, culture, religion, ethnic background, disability, health problems and other factors will influence a person’s ability to access services. Peer support services are effective at reducing isolation for those groups at risk of being isolated, for example, asylum seekers and refugees. These isolated groups may benefit greatly from peer support but need a tailored approach or targeted support to ensure support is accessible.
Peer support should be available in a variety of formats, for example, one-to-one, in-person, telephone and group support. This will ensure that the support meets the needs of a wide range of mothers/carers and supports positive outcomes for their infants’ mental health.
We will work with stakeholders to raise awareness of the need for peer support to be made available in different formats and modalities. We will also ensure this is included in the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Raising Awareness and Reducing Stigma Strategy.
Targeted peer support services should be designed to meet the particular needs of groups who are currently underserved by services, for example: Mothers/carers living in poverty, ethnic minority groups, geographically isolated communities, families affected by domestic abuse or substance abuse, parents who experience the loss of a baby, in addition to considering the impact of religious and cultural beliefs, disability, health problems and any other pertinent factors.
We will work with the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Equalities Working Group to identify how targeted peer support services can provide equitable support and prevent disproportionate impacts across groups with protected characteristics.
Specific peer support for men should be widely supported and become more widely available. This will help to ensure this underserved group have a range of peer support services in place to support them
We will work with a range of stakeholders who specialise in supporting men and their mental health during the perinatal period to better understand the landscape of peer support for men and identify gaps in provision/support.