US and Canada

The power of peers to change lives

This video provides a case study of two peer support programme experiences from the perspective of two HIV healthcare professionals who were originally sceptical but who are now supportive. They explain the impact that peer support has had on their patients and what peer support workers can do that they as health professionals can't. This video could be used as a tool for encouraging better integration with healthcare services and may contain learning points for programmes wishing to develop or expand.

Peer support resource manual

This manual from Canada focuses on setting up and maintaining peer support programmes for people with a mental illness. It includes a step-by-step outline of how to develop a peer support programme as well as a recruitment and training curriculum for peer supporters. It has a number of forms and templates that can be used for evaluations.

Evaluation approaches for mental health prevention and early intervention programs

This handbook provides guidance about evaluating mental health prevention and early intervention programmes. Peer support is mentioned, amongst other programmes. Principles for evaluation are outlined and sections then focus on evaluation strategies for specific types of formats such as education interventions, social media campaigns, operating helplines, and counselling and support.

Peer interviewers in mental health services research

This article describes how peer interviewers helped to collect data in an evaluation of a peer respite programme in the US. The respite programmes offered short-term, overnight peer support for those with mental health conditions. The paper aims to describe one avenue for engaging with peers to conduct research and was informed by the practice of peer support, the history of service user research, and CBPR (community-based participatory research) methods.

"Positive examples": a bottom-up approach to identifying best practices in HIV care and treatment based on the experiences of peer educators

This article describes peer support in HIV care and treatment based on the perspective of 23 HIV-positive peer educators across the United States. Following in depth interviews, those individuals were asked questions about their role in their community and how they believed their interaction with others had a positive impact including on HIV knowledge, access to health care, utilisation of services, and adherence to treatment. The article then sets out the key findings from the discussions and draws conclusions on characteristics that may be important for programme sustainability.

Cultural competency in mental health peer-run programs and self-help groups

This tool was created to help mental health peer-operated programmes and self-help groups assess their own cultural competency. The toolkit defines cultural competency as the ability to interact effectively and comfortably with people from different cultures including people who differ from you in terms of race, ethnicity, culture, sexuality and other characteristics. It aims to help groups identify the ways in which their activities are responsive to culturally diverse peers and areas for improvement. Suggestions for specific action plans to grow cultural competency are provided.

Building blocks to peer program success: a toolkit for developing HIV peer programs

This toolkit summarises important principles for setting up and expanding peer support programmes for people with HIV/AIDS based on 3 successful peer programmes in the US. It includes a substantial section on evaluating peer support programmes which includes information on choosing what to measure, logic models, data collection methods, and analysing results. While it is not clear if it has been developed in partnership with service users, it has been developed in partnership with a wide group of clinical experts.

Comprehensive peer support program development guide

This guide has curated evidence-based, field-tested tools and practices from peer support programmes from around the world. It aims to assist the development, implementation, evaluation, enhancement, and sustainability of peer support programmes. The guide is organized into five parts: What Is Peer Support, Program Development, Program Implementation, Program Evaluation, and Program Sustainability. It also has a subsection specifically on financial and cost management. Each of the five parts stands on its own and provides recommendations, resources, and considerations.

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