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 you with the learning and values necessary to utilise your 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 you 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?

  • Part-time (structured)
  • This course is held entirely online, with learning supported using the university's virtual learning environment (VLE)
  • You will learn through a combination of workshops and self-study (one 3-hour class each week with additional learning materials and assessments accessible online)

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 - you can study this fully online course from anywhere in the UK. You will be enrolled and supported by staff at UHI Inverness.

Start date

  • September
  • January


For information on costs for 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 Aug/Sep 2024 or Jan/Feb 2025

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.