Experts by experience: the power of peer support in education

Mutual contact between peers that are dealing with a psychiatric background, is a source of recognition, acknowledgement, support and information for many of them. There for a group of such allies makes for a place where understanding and support for each other become a powerful resource. By sharing experiences and by advising and supporting each other these students help themselves and others to be stronger and more resilient in the future. Often at the same time they will be more capable in leaving the past behind.

The main topic of this workshop is getting to know the way peer support groups are being formed and guided at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen. Also some of the exercises that take place in such groups will be experienced by the participants. In order to learn from each other, during this workshop participants will also have the opportunity to share some of their own experiences with respect to peer support in education.

 Learning Objectives
The participants will have increased knowledge about offering and setting up peer support groups with respect to education.
The participants will have learned about ways of stimulating and maintaining a peer support group.
The participants will have experienced the power of peer support.
The participants will have taken home good practices on the above mentioned collaboration from both the Dutch situation with respect to SE as also that in the other countries represented by the participants.

Laura van Meijeren finished her study Social Work at the Hanzehogeschool Groningen in the year 2010. After she finished her study, she fell into a depression. To learn how she could cope with her depression she followed an intensive four day program for young adults in de Mental Health Services. After she learned how to cope with her depression she decided to follow a different direction. She chose to follow the study Peer Support Worker in the Mental Health Services. In 2014 the Hanzehogeschool asked her if she wanted to be one of the companions in the RAAK-project. She agreed and continued her work for the RAAK- project during her study. She finished her study in June 2015 and to this day still is involved with several projects for  the Hanzehogeschool.
Jelco Caro studied Social Work and Education at both the Hanze and the NHL Universities of Applied Sciences. He has been a social worker in the field of youth care and immigration and has been working as a lecturer for the past eight years at the Hanze UAP. Since the beginning of 2014 he has been the coordinator of the RAAK-project called Supported Education: new interventions for professionals.