Basset, T. (2015), "Guest editorial", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 10 No. 5. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-08-2015-0039
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Guest editorial From: The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Volume 10, Issue 5.
Thurstine Basset is Director at the Basset Consultancy, Brighton, UK.
This issue features two important and inter-related areas of mental health practice – peer support and recovery. If recovery provides a map for navigating the terrain of mental distress, peer support offers guides for the journey.
Three papers are from Australia and three from the UK.
In the first paper Flegg, Gordon-Walker and Maguire report on the findings of a review based on three community organizations in Brighton and Hove (UK) that espouse a peer-to-peer support philosophy. Findings include a reduction in self-harm and the use of mainstream health services. The paper illustrates the important role of the independent/voluntary sector in providing holistic mental health support.
Nannen writes from her personal experience of working as a peer support worker in a mental health facility in Australia. She writes about recovery in a broad way but also from her own personal perspective, with an emphasis on how she keeps herself well in her work. She explores the role of peer support worker, looking at issues such as confidentiality, keeping to boundaries and working with clinicians.
Elias and Upton-Davis, both from the University of Western Australia in Perth, propose, in a viewpoint paper, that the value-base of social work is well suited to facilitating the development of peer support. They draw on the experience of one of them in setting up, developing and managing an in-patient peer support program.
Beales and Wilson present the work of the Service User Involvement Directorate at Together (UK) over a ten-year period. They celebrate the achievements of peer support, but also share their strong belief that peer support should remain authentic and service user-led and not be diluted by over-professionalization or cut back on during a period of austerity.
Arblaster, Mackenzie and Willis, from universities in Sydney and Melbourne (Australia), examine whether service user involvement in the education of health professionals is effective in promoting recovery-oriented practice. They conclude that overall the evidence is weak and that an instrument that measures constructs relevant to all recovery-oriented capability domains is needed to move things forward.
In the final paper of this issue, Bertram and McDonald, who work for an NHS Trust in South London (UK) report on what helps people using mental health services achieve their vocational goals. Working with service users they have developed a model of change linked to a validation/invalidation framework. This paper also includes interesting comments about both recovery and peer support.