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Evaluating the Peer Education Project in secondary schools

Carin Eisenstein (Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, London, UK)
Victoria Zamperoni (Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, London, UK)
Neil Humphrey (University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Jessica Deighton (Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, London, UK)
Miranda Wolpert (Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, London, UK)
Camilla Rosan (Mental Health Foundation, London, UK)
Helen Bohan (Mental Health Foundation, London, UK)
Antonis A. Kousoulis (Mental Health Foundation, London, UK)
Marianne Promberger (Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, London, UK)
Julian Edbrooke-Childs (Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, London, UK)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 14 January 2019

Issue publication date: 5 March 2019

783

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine the efficacy of the Peer Education Project (PEP), a school-based, peer-led intervention designed to support secondary school students to develop the skills and knowledge they need to safeguard their mental health and that of their peers.

Design/methodology/approach

Six schools from across England and the Channel Islands took part in an evaluation of the PEP across the 2016/2017 academic year. In total, 45 trained peer educators from the sixth form and 455 Year 7 students completed pre- and post-questionnaires assessing their emotional and behavioural difficulties, perceived school climate, and knowledge, skills and confidence related to mental health.

Findings

Results indicate that participation in the PEP is associated with significant improvement in key skills among both peer educators and student trainees, and in understanding of key terms and readiness to support others among trainees. Most students would recommend participation in the programme to other students.

Originality/value

While peer education has been found to be effective in some areas of health promotion, research on the effectiveness of peer-led mental health education programmes in schools is limited. This study contributes evidence around the efficacy of a new peer education programme that can be implemented in secondary schools.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The role of Cernis Limited, Highgate School and Place2Be in the original development of the programme is acknowledged. The research described in this paper was funded by the Mental Health Foundation, using funds raised by the Friends of the Foundation and Global Radio’s Make Some Noise Campaign.

Citation

Eisenstein, C., Zamperoni, V., Humphrey, N., Deighton, J., Wolpert, M., Rosan, C., Bohan, H., A. Kousoulis, A., Promberger, M. and Edbrooke-Childs, J. (2019), "Evaluating the Peer Education Project in secondary schools", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 58-65. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMH-07-2018-0048

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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