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Peer-to-peer mental health: a community evaluation case study

Mirika Flegg (School of Health Sciences, University of Brighton, Brighton, UK)
Maggie Gordon-Walker (Mothers Uncovered, Brighton, UK)
Shona Maguire (Community Works, Brighton, UK)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 2 November 2015




The purpose of this paper is to report the findings of a third-sector community review into peer-to-peer best practices in mental health service provision in Sussex. This community initiative was funded by the Big Lottery to explore the benefits of the peer-led approach on individual and public health outcomes and identify avenues for partnership working.


A total of 131 participants who had engaged with peer-to-peer services both as receivers and providers of support were invited to share knowledge and best-practice expertise via a survey, focus groups and a public consultation day.


This case study review suggests peer-to-peer support services as an innovative approach to reducing suicide, self-harm, reliance on public health services (GPs, hospital stays, etc.) and engaging with drugs, alcohol and criminal activity. In addition to offering a holistic and social approach to mental health, it further identifies that engagement in peer-to-peer activities potentially provide long-term benefits by reducing the stigma associated with mental health conditions and treatment. This review highlights the importance of third-sector groups in providing peer-to-peer mental health support services. It recommends a network of Peer-to-Peer services to share best practices and improve partnership working.


Conducted by and for people with personal or family experiences with mental health challenges, this review captures the often inaccessible ideas of a highly marginalised group. It communicates how they would prefer to work in partnership with academic institutions, public and statutory service to improve individual and community health outcomes.



The project partners wish to thank the funder Big Lottery and all those who have given their time, energy and ideas to this community review of peer-to-peer support.


Flegg, M., Gordon-Walker, M. and Maguire, S. (2015), "Peer-to-peer mental health: a community evaluation case study", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 10 No. 5, pp. 282-293.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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