Peer Advocacy Service

We would like to welcome you to the Peer Advocacy Service site. This site was produced by Trust staff in partnership with our peer advocates. The aim of this site is to provide you with information about our service. We have tried to ensure that our site is user friendly by providing helpful and up to date information.  

The Peer Advocacy Service is available to all individuals over the age of 18, accessing mental health services within the Trust. We currently have a team of peer advocates operating in various sites throughout the South Eastern HSC Trust. Our peer advocates provide individual 1-1 support and sit on a vast range of groups ensuring that the service user voice is heard at all levels.

The Peer Advocacy Service is valued by the Multidisciplinary Team and strives towards meeting demand while maintaining the quality that both service users and staff expect. Peer Advocacy aims to ensure that the voice of the service user is heard, to reduce stigma and help improve individual recovery outcomes.

Mission Statement

The South Eastern HSC Trust Volunteer Peer Advocacy Service operates in order to promote the independent voice and to protect the rights and choices of individuals who use mental health services.

The South Eastern Trust Peer Advocacy Service is operated by people who have accessed mental health services for people who access mental health services. All peer advocates will work with you in equal partnership to promote self-determination, choice and to ensure that your rights are protected.

What is Peer Advocacy?

Advocacy is a process of standing alongside you, speaking up on your behalf and encouraging you to speak up for yourself.

Peer advocates take action to help you understand your rights and represent your interests.

Peer advocates will have personal experience of mental health services.

All South Eastern HSC Trust peer advocates have completed their Open College Network (Level 2) Accredited Peer Advocacy Training and on-going mandatory training.


The South Eastern HSC Trust Peer Advocacy Service is available for service users who live within the South Eastern HSC Trust locality.

The Peer Advocacy Service aims to support service users in expressing thoughts and preferences about their own mental health needs.

The South Eastern HSC Trust runs training courses for people who wish to become volunteer peer advocates.

How can peer advocacy help?

Peer advocates offer support and understanding for those using mental health services.

A peer advocate:
Can speak up for you, or will help support you to speak up and make your voice heard
Can help you prepare for meetings with mental health professionals
Will support you during meetings with health professionals
Can provide you with information on what services are available
Will support you in accessing services
Can meet with you in a confidential setting
Will listen to your concerns
Will work alongside you to assist you with your recovery

*Benefit issues will be dealt with by Citizens Advice Bureau or Mindwise

 How can I contact a Peer Advocate?


Dymphna Hansen 
Peer Coordinator 


028 90 622008 ext 81914 

 Email dymphna.hansen

 Write to

Dymphna Hansen 
Derriaghy Social & Educational Centre 
Unit 7, City Business Park
BT17 9GX  







*We also can meet you at Downshire Psychiatric Intensive Care Ward

Or meet with a peer advocate within the community:

Our peer advocates can meet you at Derriaghy Social and Educational Centre for the Lisburn area: Action Mental Health for the Ards area: or Finneston House for the Downpatrick area. Call 028 90 622008.

For directions please click on the map below:


Who can access the Peer Advocacy service? You can access the advocacy service if you are:

 Aged 18 or over

 Are accessing South Eastern HSC Trust mental health services

Who can make a referral to the Peer Advocacy service?

You can contact the advocacy service and make a referral if you are:

 The service user

 A carer, friend or relative

 A mental health professional

 A voluntary agency

 Another advocacy service

Contacting the Peer Advocacy service and what to expect

The Peer Advocacy Service will respond to all enquiries made through the peer coordinator who will put you in touch with a volunteer peer advocate.

 The peer advocate will offer you an initial meeting date

 The meeting will take place in a confidential setting

 The peer advocate will explain the role of the peer advocate

 The peer advocate will explain how any notes taken will be stored and safeguarded

 You will be given a copy of the Peer Advocacy Service User Guide

 The peer advocate will listen to your views and concerns

 Together you and the peer advocate will discuss available options and how best to take your wishes forward


The South Eastern Peer Advocacy Service will do its utmost to ensure that all information is kept confidential.

All South Eastern HSC Trust peer advocates have received training in confidentiality procedures including the exceptional circumstances that require the peer advocate to break confidentiality.

Exceptional circumstances are:
 Where a service user threatens to endanger themselves.
 Where a service user threatens to harm another individual.
 Where a service user expresses intent to carry out an illegal act/ or has carried out an illegal act

Compliments, Complaints, Suggestions

If things go wrong and you are unhappy with the service you receive we would like you to tell us, so that we can try to explore the concerns raised and improve our service.

If you wish to make a complaint there are a number of ways to do this:

Stage 1  - You can speak directly to the peer advocate, or the peer coordinator, who will try to resolve the issues you raise.

Stage 2 -  If you are still not satisfied, or you do not want to speak directly to staff, you may make a formal complaint to the Complaints/Patient Liaison Manager.

You can do this by writing to:

Complaints/Patient Liaison Manager
South Eastern HSC Trust
Health and Care Centre
39 Regent Street
BT23 4AD

Telephone: 028 90 561427 or Fax 028 90 564815


You can expect your complaint to be acknowledged within 2 working days of receipt. Your complaint will be investigated thoroughly, treated confidentially and responded to fully in writing within twenty working days. If there is a delay we will let you know the reason for this.

Stage 3 - If things are not resolved to your satisfaction you can contact the Ombudsman (NI) by writing to:

The Ombudsman
Progressive House
33 Wellington Place

Freephone: 0800 343 434



You can contact:

Patient and Client Council
1st Floor
Ormeau Baths
18 Ormeau Avenue

Freephone: 0800 917 0222



Training / Workshops

The South Eastern HSC Trust Peer Advocacy Service offers Self-Advocacy Workshops/Training on the wards and within the community. If you are interested in attending our training courses or workshops you can ask a member of staff or a peer advocate for an application form or timetable.

Contact: Dymphna Hansen
              Peer Coordinator
Telephone: 028 90 622008 ext 81914

Contact: Anna Devlin
              Recovery College Coordinator
Telephone: 028 90 413872 ext 89872

Please click here to view the current training courses available.

Useful Documents

Peer Advocacy Service User Guide
Photo Gallery 


Other Useful Numbers



Age NI (over 65 years old) - Belfast - 028 90 245729

Aware Defeat Depression Helpline - 0845 120 2961 / 028 90 321734  (open : 9.00am - 5.00pm)

Cause Carer Advocacy - Helpline - 028 90 650650

Citizen’s Advice Bureau                                      
                                        Ards - 028 91 819257

                                        Bangor - 028 91 457000

                                        Downpatrick - 028 44 614110

                                        Holywood - 028 90 428288

Cruse Bereavement Care  
                                        Belfast - 028 90 434600  
                                        Ards - 028 91 272444

Cruse Helpline - 0844 477 9400 (open : 9.00am - 5.00pm)

Law Centre (NI) - Belfast 028 90 244401

Lifeline - 24 hour service 0808 808 8000


              Ards 028 91 510127

              Downpatrick 028 44 617964

              Lisburn 028 92 665141 ext 2289

Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority - Belfast 028 90 517500