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A long and honourable history

Alison Faulkner (Independent Mental Health Researcher, London, UK)
Thurstine Basset (Independent Consultant, Basset Consultancy Ltd, Brighton, UK)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 15 June 2012




This paper aims to explore the extensive roots of peer support in mental health, and to identify the values and principles that the authors wish to hold onto as choices are made as to how and whether to engage with formal peer support within the National Health Service (NHS).


The authors attempt to cover the ground of three types of peer support, but with an emphasis on informal peer support and participation in consumer or peer‐run groups as providing the roots for the third more formal type, which is often known as intentional peer support (IPS).


Professionalisation of peer support may endanger the equality that lies at the root of peer support relationships. Independence may also be compromised if peer support becomes just another part of mainstream services. Whilst an individual/personalised approach to providing services has many strengths, one must be careful not to remove all opportunity for service users to meet together, support one another, plan and campaign.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that commissioners of services should aim for a plurality of peer support and be careful to ensure that informal peer support is flourishing as an essential basis for more formal peer support.


The paper shows that, with an increased interest in providing peer support as part of mainstream services, it is important to stress the basic values and principles that underpin informal service‐user led peer support.



Faulkner, A. and Basset, T. (2012), "A long and honourable history", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 53-59.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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