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AD:EPT Mentors celebrated at Magilligan

Mentor

Eight AD:EPT Mentors were celebrated at an event in Magilligan, on 2 May. They received certificates and shared experiences of their Mentor role with their peers, Start360 staff, the Director General of the NI Prison Service and our AD:EPT funders from the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust.

The AD:EPT Mentors work alongside the Start360 AD:EPT staff team in Magilligan and have all been trained in a range of skills, including mentoring, relapse prevention, harm reduction, Naloxone use and auricular acupuncture. In addition, they are 'experts by experience' - something no amount of training can provide.

Some of the Mentors had been in the role for quite some time now, while others were relatively new.  They are all supported by the staff - one of whom said, 'Learning is a two way process: we learn from them and they learn from us. It's a privilege to work alongside the Mentors here.'

It was clear from hearing the mentors speak just how much they themselves have gained from taking on this role*. Michael said, 'Everyone has their own reasons for addiction. My confidence grows every time I help someone', and Pearse said, 'I can communicate with my kids better now too – being a mentor has given me more courage.'

Joey said, 'Being a Mentor has opened my eyes – it keeps me focused and could be the job for me in the future.'

Start360, with the support of the SE Trust and NIPS, is committed to rolling out this mentoring model across the prison service and on into the community. A representative from the Trust said, 'The AD:EPT Peer Mentor programme is an excellent of example of transformational working. The ability of the Peer Mentors to listen and share their experiences openly is inspirational. I am certain they play a key role in harm reduction and relapse prevention.'

*names have been changed to ensure confidentiality.

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