Mental Health Peer Support PDA

Course code 9L53

What is special about this course?

Peer support workers in the mental health sector, often now acknowledged as ‘experts by experience’, offer a unique insight and understanding that can only be gained through having been there yourself.

This course has been specifically developed to equip students with the learning and values necessary to utilise their own experiences to support others recovering from mental illness.

Special features

Developed by the Scottish Recovery Network, the PDA will help you to build up your skills in:

  • Developing mutually empowering relationships
  • Sharing personal voyages of recovery in a way that inspires hope
  • Offering help and support as an equal rather than as an expert

Entry requirements

There are no specific entry requirements, but applicants should have personal experience of mental health problems and be able to provide evidence of good written and oral communication skills (SCQF level 5 or above).

Year 1 - PDA

The PDA consists of two mandatory units:

  • Recovery Context, which includes the following outcomes:
    • Define and understand peer support and its role in recovery
    • Describe and explain the key concepts of formalised peer support
  • Developing Practice, which includes the following outcomes:
    • Apply a range of theories and concepts in the peer support role
    • Develop relationships based on peer support principles
    • Understand perspectives of the work role

How will I study my course?

Additional information for course delivery in 2021-22

This course is work-based and therefore will have limited changes to the delivery for 2021-22. You will work with your assessor to develop your e-portfolio. You will also have a face to face or online induction at the start of the course. The required work-based observations by your assessor will be conducted when it is possible and safe to do so, following Scottish Government guidance, including social distancing, most likely towards the end of the course. It will be possible to extend the length of the course to accommodate this element. The theory elements may be delivered online through a combination of tutor-supported study, video-based seminars and self-directed study using the university's virtual learning environment. You can access your online and video-based classes from home however it is our intention to provide on-campus space for individual students where required as far as possible. Further information will be provided by your home campus. Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff.
  • Part-time (structured)

You will learn through a combination of workshops and self-study.

How long will my course last?

  • Part-time (structured): 12 weeks: each module will require approximately 40 hours of study time

Where can I study my course?

  • Inverness College UHI
  • Perth College UHI

Start date

  • September
  • January


For information on costs of this course please contact the campus where you wish to study.


External scholarships and financial support, such as an Individual Training Account, may be available. Please contact the relevant UHI partner college for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Successful completion of the PDA may lead to opportunities for employment as a Peer Supporter. It may also offer access to a range of other related mental health and social services qualifications.

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Mental Health Peer Support PDA

I want to start in Jan/Feb 2022 or Aug/Sep 2022 or Jan/Feb 2023

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.