To read this content please select one of the options below:

Peer support – the what, why, who, how and now

Anne Beales (Service User Involvement Directorate, Together for Mental Wellbeing, London, UK)
Johanna Wilson (Service User Involvement Directorate, Together for Mental Wellbeing, London, UK)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 2 November 2015

1371

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to outline what peer support is, covering its history, variations and benefits, then goes on to discuss what the challenges have been to authenticity and what the future holds for peer support.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors argue for the necessity of service user leadership in peer support based on both the Service User Involvement Directorate’s (SUID’s) experience and UK-wide learning.

Findings

Peer support brings wellbeing and confidence benefits both to the supporter and the supported. However, the lack of understanding of what peer support is, the current climate of austerity and over-professionalisation can threaten the transformational power of genuine peer support.

Research limitations/implications

Peer support is always evolving, and there are areas like the criminal justice service and secure services where more work needs to be done.

Practical implications

Commissioners/funders of mental health services should recognise the value of peer support and its potential for better wellbeing outcomes, while understanding the necessity of service user leadership to maximise its beneficial potential.

Originality/value

The paper looks at peer support at the point in time a decade after the formation of the SUID at Together and four years since the UK mental health strategy No Health Without Mental Health (Department of Health, 2011) and explores the challenges faced at a time when the value of peer support is generally accepted in legislation.

Keywords

Citation

Beales, A. and Wilson, J. (2015), "Peer support – the what, why, who, how and now", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 10 No. 5, pp. 314-324. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-03-2015-0013

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles