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18 July 2023

How peer support helped me navigate the unknowns I faced after my crash

by Alan Evans

DOTS Alan Peer Support beneficiary sqr

"Being able to speak to someone who had experience of what I was going through was so valuable"

I was in hospital in Liverpool after a motorbike crash left me with catastrophic injuries. I was in a lot of pain at the beginning, but I still remember Gill, a Caseworker from Day One, being there and supporting me on the ward. The financial aid she arranged was an absolute godsend. It was amazing to have access to somebody I could ask simple questions, who helped me deal with it all when it was overwhelming, and who was consistently there through what has been a really traumatic time.

Gill arranged for me to speak to a peer supporter called Martin, who has been brilliant. Our chats were relevant and meaningful. He set it up well and was clear that his experience would be different to mine. Through sharing our stories we found lots of common themes, from big things like dealing with secondary conditions, to problems with outpatient taxi services. Talking with Martin helped me explore the various stages of recovery and the different challenges I might face. It was inspirational and motivational for me to speak with him.

The lived experience element is absolutely essential. Peer support isn’t someone offering you sympathy, condolence, or trying to jolly you along with a talk on positive mindset. It’s a conversation with someone who has suffered too, someone who understands. When you are immobilised in a hospital bed, depending on others to feed, wash, care, and move you, it’s very difficult to communicate with someone without that experience.

I experienced psychological benefits from the calls with Martin. Our chats helped motivate me at times when I was feeling quite down. I didn’t have a lot of visitors at the hospital, so for me the calls were a positive anchor each week. It was something to look forward to when I had a rough couple of days.

I think it would have been much harder for me to navigate through the many unknowns I faced after my crash without peer support from Martin. Being able to speak to someone who had experience of what I was going through was so valuable.

I would recommend Day One to anyone who has experienced a life-changing injury. I’ve got quite a long journey ahead of me and I need a settling-in period to help me live independently. But I would love to become a peer supporter for Day One in the future, so I can use my lived experience to help others.

Read a blog from Martin about his experience of supporting Alan

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