Safe Spaces in Schools to encourage peer to peer support

The group discussion about support in schools at Muirhouse Millennium Centre on Monday 26th November 2018 suggested that all schools, primary and secondary, should provide ‘safe space’ for young people to go to and talk to someone about their problems.

The space should be open, have comfortable seating and not have harsh lighting. The space could also be a place where young people could go to provide each other with “peer to peer support.”

Why the contribution is important

The group felt peer to peer support was important and more should be done to make it easier for young people to support their peers.

One young person noted that young people “don’t necessarily need a doctor or a phone number to call, but the opportunity to meet and talk with others may be in a similar situation.”

The group also highlighted examples of useful and trusted peer support programmes like Girlguiding’s ‘Think Resilient’ and group sessions provided by a range of third sector organisations in Scotland.  

Young people in attendance found it was more comfortable speaking to another young person, than speaking to an adult.

They also stressed that peer to peer discussion does need to directly relate to mental health, it may just be enough knowing that the people you are speaking to are going through similar experiences. This means that young people engaging in peer to peer support “are not defined by ill mental health, but rather are just using the space to be a young person.”

The group also suggested that young people should be provided with training and support to become mental health peer supporters.

by Muirhouse2611 on December 06, 2018 at 03:58PM

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  • Posted by Elric_FCE December 14, 2018 at 11:55

    Thumbs up to this idea - the discussions young people in Fife have had so far on similar ideas were to create more peer led spaces; where they would choose what kind of information is available and avoid taboos around mental health by keeping those informal (e.g. if in a school, that they are not linked to guidance etc).

    There was also similar links drawn with postive mental health / health and wellbeing ideas such removing barriers to taking part in awareness walks in activity leaders also act informally.
  • Posted by Tynecastle11119 January 17, 2019 at 10:18

    Pupils at Tynecastle High School strongly agreed with this idea. At their school 'Interview rooms' are available in the PSE corridor, where individuals can take time out or chat to peers about problems or things that are worrying them.

    The use of the rooms are signed off by Guidance staff.
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