EMBRACE: In partnership with people for people.

Emotionally Educated Minds Bring Reason and Choices Everyday

group of mixed aged men and women sitting discussing

What is Embrace and who is it for?

EMBRACE is a community of people who have all been through similar struggles, and a place for you to share your difficulties with others who really understand. EMBRACE believes that everyone is equal and deserves respect, so even the staff members are group members. In our community, we offer a chance for you to get support from other people, develop helpful coping strategies, and give support to others in return.

At EMBRACE, we are based on relational practice. We believe that healthy relationships can truly help in your journey. As you progress through the two-year programme, you’ll be supported at every turn by your fellow group members, whether just starting out or becoming a senior member. Along the way, you’ll be encouraged to attend a wide variety of workshops, special mental health events, and even start your own groups or activities in partnership with staff members (this is co-production in action!).

There are four phases, each lasting six months, and every new stage brings fresh possibilities and ways for you to get involved—which are always completely unique to you. We hope you’ll use your strengths and interests to design and deliver new workshops with us (this is what we call an asset-based approach). Once you graduate, you will be invited back to the group after a few months and you could even become a Peer Mentor. Throughout the programme, our staff will work with you and the other services around you to ensure that you feel empowered in your care. Your wellbeing is our top priority!

Please note that EMBRACE is designed for people who struggle with their mental health, have been referred to the Mental Health Integrated Community Service (MHICS) or a Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) in East Berkshire, and may benefit from Therapeutic Community support.

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Theory Background

The award-winning EMBRACE therapeutic model is an enabling, relational, co-produced, formulation-driven, trauma-informed, asset-based and discovery-focused programme – phew!

During the four-phase, two-year programme, people’s co-created care and safety plans are based on The Interpersonal Theory of Suicidal Behaviour (Joiner, 2005). This reduces a sense of loneliness and increases a sense of purpose, whilst managing emotional intensity difficulties.

Women sat around and talking

Group Sessions

EMBRACE is a group therapeutic programme, offering a safe and supportive environment for an individual to develop, grow and change. We believe that everyone’s behaviour has meaning, and represents communication which deserves understanding. EMBRACE supports people to understand how they relate to others, and how others relate to them. The group believes that everybody is unique, and nobody should be defined by their problems alone. EMBRACE met online during coronavirus lockdown and is now back to weekly in-person sessions in Slough.

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EMBRACE workshops are dependent on the needs of its current members. Being involved in community decision making about these is required for shared participation, responsibility and ownership of the service. This in turn ensures that a person’s sense of purpose and belonging are developed. A wide variety of workshops are co-produced, including anxiety management, sleep hygiene and understanding loss. You can now sign up for workshops in our login area on this website. Click here to log in, or email Mailbox.HopeCollege@berkshire.nhs.uk with your full name and date of birth to get your login details.

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Peer Support

Peer Mentors are essential to the running of the EMBRACE community, and work alongside staff members. Peer Mentors co-facilitate group sessions, introduce the process of EMBRACE to new members, and facilitate groups on Prospect Park Hospital’s inpatient wards.  Peer Mentors have their own support and regular supervision. In addition, Peer Mentors are the key to our networking with the wider community, to share our therapeutic cultural values. Visit our Hope College page to learn more about the peer mentor programme.

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Friends and Family

The EMBRACE group holds regular supportive sessions for members’ friends and family. Through ongoing feedback, we have developed specific topics for sessional discussions and workshops. For example, the community developed training videos on how to deal with complex situations regarding mental health, and used these as a starting point towards conversations to normalise and de-stigmatise distressing life events. Please visit our login area or our YouTube channel to learn more.



Sessions arranged with Peer Mentors and staff to learn about the programme and its structure.

Phase 1

The focus here is for people to feel safe and comfortable in a supportive space.

Phase 2

The aim here is about being more settled, and participate in activities.

Phase 3

During this phase it is about taking on a more active role.

Phase 4

This phase is about becoming a senior member, developing internal self- support and an ability to support others. It is about sharing experiences with other members, to inform and empower them.


People have the opportunity to take on new roles in Peer Mentoring, EMBRACE volunteers, Charity Champions and Mental Health Ambassadors.