Peer Support Worker and Tree of Life coach
My name is Maggie Hayes. I started my working life in the museum and gallery sector where I spent the next 30 years before being medically retired in 2007. Following on from my own experiences I became interested in helping as a volunteer in the mental health sector. After 8 weeks training I became a peer support worker on a female acute ward. My role was to help patients and staff to build a more trusting and an understanding environment within the ward and to follow this up with support for patients when discharged. I first heard about a project called TOL in 2012, which aimed for service users and psychologists to work side by the side with each other. After completing training I joined the Slam involvement register to work alongside psychologists in wards across a number of south London boroughs including Lambeth, Croydon and Lewisham. I found running the TOL workshops encouraged patients to share their stories in a safe environment. The TOL’s key theme is to show that patients are more than just their mental health diagnosis.