Peer Mentors will use their experience of addiction and recovery to support individuals to overcome their dependency and move into work.
Between January and March 2023, Digital Health and Care Wales reported 8,082 Welsh referrals to NHS substance misuse services, an increase of almost 1,000 people on the previous year.
ONS reported in 2021 that drug-related deaths in Wales rose to highest recorded levels at 322 or 51.1 deaths per million people.
The three new Peer Mentors working in Wrexham, Shotton and Rhyl will specifically build trust with people who have a substance dependency and access Job Centre Plus, DWP services or are unemployed.
The aim is to work with people to overcome their dependency and help them move into meaningful, sustainable jobs.
Her experiences will help people who use substances to overcome barriers to recovery and get work-ready.
She said, “After a rough couple of years, and with some help from some amazing people, I finally realised that we’re all the same.
“We’re all human. Having someone show you some compassion when your struggling can be the best thing in the world.
This is the reason why I cant wait to be a Peer Mentor, to show anyone that they can overcome anything, with the right people around them.”
The Peer Mentors employed by The Wallich have experience of a substance dependency and will utilise their unique lived experience to:
The Peer Mentors will also provide training to upskill Job Centre Plus staff on identifying and working with people who use substances in a trauma-informed way.
People are referred through their Work Coach at a Job Centre Plus, or directly through other statutory and third sector organisations.
For eligibility, mentees must have
Once a referral is accepted, Peer Mentors work with them on a personalised plan of support for a period of approximately eight weeks, or longer if required.
Grant Hyatt, Area Manager for North East Wales at The Wallich, said,
“The North Wales Peer Mentoring service is a really innovative partnership which we hope will pioneer a new approach to change a lot of people’s lives.
“At The Wallich, we know that moving on from traumatic experiences like drug or alcohol dependency requires specific interventions and support.
“Our aim with this service is to empower people to feel positive about their future and offer them the tools to achieve their goals.
“The Wallich will be working closely with Job Centre Plus staff to promote psychologically informed principles of working with vulnerable people such as building good relationships, harm reduction, collaborative support plans and reflective practice.
“We are proud to be guiding our excellent Peer Mentors on this genuinely exciting new project in North Wales.”