A guide to setting up local peer mentor support for people with M.E./CFS
12 August 2021
Author: Action For M.E.
Learning from people with ME
Action for ME are pleased to share the learning from our five-year project, Mentor ME. This was funded by the Alliance’s Transforming Self Management fund. Volunteer peer mentors in the project provided structured peer mentor support to people with ME and their carers. The learning from this project is contained in a Guide to setting-up local peer mentor support for people with M.E./CFS. (hard copies can be posted out) Although this is aimed at people with M.E/CFS it is likely it will be helpful for people with a range of long term health conditions especially any energy limiting conditions.
Throughout we used a strengths/asset base approach as this is what the participants told us worked best for them. People reported that having a peer mentor who understood difficulties arising from ME and could acknowledge and validate their experience was a real boost. Having that understanding from a peer went a long way to helping people feel less alone and isolated.
Hearing that other people did not always do what they intend to do or know that works for their health made both mentor and mentees realise the value of being kinder to themselves when they slipped up. Pacing and managing your activities and energy is a real skill and takes time and practice to master. Hearing from other people about how they viewed their progress and setbacks made people realise how hard this work is for everyone. And how it is easier to support someone else to overcome setbacks rather than to be compassionate to yourself.