Peer Support Line information and FAQs header Banner overlay

About the Peer Support Line

Why did we develop the AOP Peer Support Line?

Call: 0800 870 8401

Why did we launch the Peer Support Line?

The Peer Support Line has been developed in response to AOP member feedback that increasing work pressures are causing higher levels of stress and anxiety in the optical profession. Members cited a need for a greater focus on mental wellbeing and confidential support to help those in the profession avoid feeling overwhelmed by practice life.

The line is available to individuals at any stage of their optical career and launched on 2 May 2017.

What are the aims of the Peer Support Line?

Our vision is that optical students and practitioners never feel alone in a time of need.

Our mission is to provide a confidential and dedicated space for individuals at any stage of their optical career to talk through their issues, feelings and emotions with an empathetic, non-judgemental, listening peer.

Who are the Peer Support Line volunteers?

The Peer Support Line volunteers are trained AOP members who are dedicated to supporting and strengthening our community of optical professionals. Many of our volunteers applied for the role based on their own or their family’s experience of needing or using this kind of listening support in the past. All our volunteers understand the benefits of having someone listen to you who is impartial and has no personal agenda.

Do I have to be an AOP member to call the line?

You do not have to be an AOP member to call the Peer Support Line. The line is completely anonymous, so no membership details or full names are requested. Though non-members may use the service, they should be aware that calls may involve signposting to AOP membership services, which they will only be able to access with a valid AOP membership.

Can AOP members’ relatives use the line?

Yes. If you are worried about your spouse or another relative, you are welcome to use the line to talk through the issue and seek further support for them.

How do we make sure the calls are anonymous?

We ensure anonymity through a variety of aspects. Firstly, we only ask callers for their first name or an alias to access the service (we take this to enable the volunteer to check they are speaking with the correct person when they return the call). 

Secondly, all phone numbers taken are destroyed after use by both our call handling service and volunteers. Volunteers are trained to address any rare occurrences of caller/volunteer voice recognition and offer the caller the opportunity to speak to another volunteer.

Volunteers are also trained to only leave anonymised voice messages, even with others that pick up the phone and will never disclose where they are calling from.

All volunteers have signed a confidentiality agreement and are bound by this to not disclose any details of the call, even anonymised, to anyone, including their family.

If callers wish to leave feedback about the service, this is also anonymous and no personal details are requested.

How long are the calls?

The calls will continue for as long as the caller needs them to. It is the caller’s decision to end the call, not the volunteer’s.

Can users leave feedback?

Yes. They can leave anonymous feedback about their experience here.