One in four people are likely to have some kind of mental health problem at some point in their lives, but for each individual the experience can feel very isolating.

Fortunately Oxfordshire Mind’s peer support groups offer a way for people with similar experiences to get together and support each other.

Kate Trotman, Oxfordshire Mind’s peer support co-ordinator, said: “People have always supported each other in families, groups of friends and in communities.

“We all recognise that helping someone else, and being helped in turn, makes us feel more valued and improves our mental wellbeing.

“Our peer support groups use that principle by bringing people with mental health problems together with others who know what they are going through.”

More than 60 peer support groups run every week in Oxfordshire. Some of them are based around a shared interest – like walking, cooking or reading – and others are for people who are from the same area, culture, or gender. People with any kind of mental health problem are welcome.

Many groups are led by a trained volunteer peer supporter who has themselves experienced mental health problems.

Sue is a trained volunteer peer supporter and has been using Oxfordshire Mind’s services herself for a number of years. Her role within the group is to lead group discussions, welcome new members and encourage a culture of mutual support.

She said: “Peer support is a way of giving help to others and receiving as much help back.

“I get a great deal of satisfaction enabling others to achieve things they never thought possible.”

Find out more about peer support groups in your area and other Oxfordshire Mind services by calling the Oxfordshire Mind information line on 01865 247788 Mondays to Fridays from 9.30am to 4.30pm, or visit the website

The next training course for peer support volunteers will be coming up later this summer.

Find out more by calling Kate Trotman on 01865 263730.