Recognising the AOP's Peer Support service this Mental Health Week

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) Peer Support line celebrates its sixth-year anniversary this month

The service provides a safe space for practitioners to discuss their issues in a confidential, non-judgemental space.

Every year between 15 to 21 May, the UK focuses on initiatives to promote positive mental health and tackles the stigma preventing people from understanding their mental health. Since the Peer Support Line’s launch in 2017, it has offered callers the opportunity to prioritise their mental health by sharing problems they face with experienced optometry professionals who uniquely understand their perspective.

In the past year, the Peer Support Line received 207 calls, amounting to 1350 total calls received from practitioners since its launch. With over 17 calls each month, mental health makes up the largest proportion of calls with 27% covering this topic.

Speaking on the support the line provides, AOP Commercial Director, Wendy Steele said: “Our 36 volunteers are trained AOP members who do not give advice, but offer support, help callers reach a resolution and empower them to take action. No topic is too trivial, and calls can be on any topic the practitioner wishes to discuss, including anxiety, work-related stress, discrimination, bereavement, or financial pressures.”

The service is a confidential free-phone helpline available to individuals at any stage of their optical career, including members and non-members alike. Calls are anonymous and only a first name or an alias can be used.

The helpline can be reached by calling, 0800 870 8401. Calls are answered 24 hours a day, by an external answering service, with volunteers on duty to return calls between 8am and 8pm.

The AOP provides a range of health and wellbeing support services to members and the wider optical profession. Find out more about what’s available from the AOP Health and wellbeing pages including advice for managing stress and wellbeing webinars.


For more information, please contact Anjola Sulaiman, PR and Media Executive, at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or telephone 020 7549 2062.

Notes to Editors

Association of Optometrists

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK. We support over 80% of practising optometrists, to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health. For more information, visit