The Two Pots? Experiences of peer workers within mental health services

Among the many Aesop’s fables, is the story of the Two Pots. The fable goes something like this:

Two pots had been left on the bank of a river, one of brass, and one of earthenware. When the tide rose they both floated off down the stream. Now the earthenware pot tried its best to keep aloof from the brass one, which cried out: “For nothing, friend, I will not strike you.”

“But I may come in contact with you,” said the other, “if I come too close; and whether I hit you, or you hit me, I shall suffer for it.”

And the moral of this story is: ‘equal partnership is best, and especially that the poor or powerless should avoid the company of the powerful’.

Is this a moral to consider for the emerging story of peer support in mainstream mental health services?

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I had a bad experience of a peer support worker. Our diagnosis where dramatically different and as a result we couldn’t really achieve much.

I remember asking the supervisor before we started if I could get paired with someone who has experience of APs - she looked at me like I was crazy.

Long story short: we weren’t really peers.

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