At Peer Hub, we believe the solution to reducing demand from volume repeat callers to emergency services is through compassion not contempt; choice not coercion; listening and hearing, not telling and talking over.
Peer Hub CIC stands with the service users, staff and allies in the StopSIM Coalition that are raising concerns about the ethics, evidence and governance of the Serenity Integrated Mentoring programme (and similar initiatives under other names). We call for the immediate suspension of all activities under these programmes pending an independent, transparent review.
Our allied call to action for compassion-focussed solutions
The solution to high volume, repeat calls for distress is values based, trauma informed, consensual, relational and compassionate care. Peer Hub calls for NHS England to cease funding SIM, or initiatives like SIM under any other name, and, pending review, reallocate the funding for these programmes to community-based alternative approaches. We would like to see these funds allocated to peer-led and/or VCSE organisations offering sanctuary spaces or 24 hour support services that are committed to compassionate, non-coercive responses, as an intentional alternative to emergency services, for people repeatedly seeking urgent care for mental and emotional distress.
Our offer to our allies Peer Hub CIC also makes a commitment to support any person campaigning in support of the #stopSIM coalition, starting with a weekly peer support/mutual support group for people who would like some time and space to coalesce with us. We will be using this space to try to find some equilibrium after what has been quite a challenging few days and weeks. Details of how to access this online peer support group will be provided on our website and linked here later today.
For public service leaders who wish to run trauma informed, consensual, compassionate mental health services which aspire to a #zeroforce environment for mental health service users, we offer a 30% discount through the code STOPSIM across our strategic change training and consultancy services until further notice.
And, of course, as a user-led organisation seeking alternatives to crisis/inpatient services in our local community, we invite commissioners, funders and grant providers who would like to help us realise this aspiration to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org – either to enable us to provide the services ourselves or to seek our support in their development in our local community of County Durham.
‘No intervention that takes power away from the survivor can possibly foster her recovery, no matter how much it appears to be in her immediate best interest’ (Herman 1998).
The antidote to distress is compassion, not coercion.