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Help yourself to our staff kitchen: a peer worker’s reflections on microaggressions

Aimee Sinclair (School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, Curtin University, Perth, Australia)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 18 April 2018

Issue publication date: 16 May 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide insight into the sanist microaggressions that peer workers face working in mental health and proposes ways in which peer workers and institutions may begin to challenge sanist practices within the sector.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is written as a personal narrative. It explores a “moment” in the life of the author as a peer support worker.

Findings

Peer workers are often faced with sanist microaggressions on the job which can significantly affect peer workers’ capacity over time. Sharing our stories, identifying points of resistance and working collectively to challenge microaggressions are important to peer worker survival within the mental health system. Organisations that train or employ peer workers should be aware of sanist microaggressions and learn how to strategically respond to them.

Originality/value

The paper documents the experiences of the author. There is limited academic literature documenting peer worker experience of microaggressions.

Keywords

Citation

Sinclair, A. (2018), "Help yourself to our staff kitchen: a peer worker’s reflections on microaggressions", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 167-172. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-06-2017-0042

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited