Missing Link is a peer support service which provides support to mental health patients in Lambeth hospitals during their time as inpatients and as they are discharged from hospital and their road to recovery continues at home.
Many patients feel at their best at the point of discharge, but go on to find reintegrating into their communities very stressful. Missing Link peer supporters have themsleves gone through similar experiences and so are well placed to know what kind of support or help is useful. A key driver to the success of Missing Link is the relationship of trust and empathy that develops between peer supporters and customers as they approach the stage where they are ready to be discharged.
One Missing Link peer supporter explains why the service is so successful:
“The patients on the ward like it. They tell the peer supporters things that they don’t talk to staff about. It’s a really informal, person-centred approach and they have someone to talk to who’s been through what they’re going through.”
Missing Link came about following consultation by Vital Link members, who told us that people often felt misunderstood by mental health professionals, who didn’t themselves have experience of mental health. They felt there was an over-emphasis on a person’s diagnosis, particularly in the case of inpatients, who often felt they weren’t seen as human beings.