A year of peer support in Nottingham: the peer support workers and their work with individuals
The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice
Article publication date: 15 June 2012
In April 2010, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS trust won Regional Innovation Funding to recruit, train and employ six peer support workers in community mental health teams. At the time, practical examples of the employment of peer support workers were lacking in England. An earlier paper focuses on the lessons learned in this first year of peer support. The aim of this paper is to examine the nature and dynamics of peer support: what the peers did with clients and what difference this made.
The project was evaluated using a simple evaluation model reflecting service structure, processes and outcomes, collected through qualitative methods: documentary analysis, semi‐structured interviews and a focus group.
The six peers worked with 83 clients over the six month period. They offered emotional, practical, social support, support specific to care and support specific to recovery. They felt that the shared knowledge that they too had experienced mental health challenges was critical in engaging with clients in a trusting relationship and in informing their work.
In the absence of English service models for peer support workers, this paper provides some guidance for new peer support teams, and some evidence to support the helpful nature of peer support work.
Repper, J. and Watson, E. (2012), "A year of peer support in Nottingham: the peer support workers and their work with individuals", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 79-84. https://doi.org/10.1108/17556221211236475
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