Report

Report

People helping people: the future of public services

This report examines how public services can become more open and engage citizens more actively. This includes social action in the form of peer support in healthcare settings as well as various other forms of social engagement. The report looks at the challenges public services can have when engaging volunteers and the public in this way and encourages more action to be taken. The report looks at evidence and challenges around evidence in particular.

Peer support workers: theory and practice.

This report sets out what peer support is, examples of peer support roles and examples of growing peer support in the UK. It also discusses the impact of peer workers and how to maintain integrity. It briefly considers the risk of professionalising the peer role and states that the most effective way of sustaining the essence of peer support is to identify its core values and ensure that these are upheld through recruitment, training and supervision.

Peer support in mental health care: is it good value for money?

This literature review makes a first attempt at assessing whether peer support provides value for money, looking specifically at whether peer support workers can reduce psychiatric inpatient bed use, either by preventing admissions or by shortening lengths of stay. Due to the nature of the literature review process methodology there is limited service user engagement in this resource however the authors are clear of the evidence's limitations and provide a useful summary of the information found.

Peer support in mental health and learning disability

This report provides a short description of peer support in mental health and learning disabilities. It includes the background and government context for the use of peer support in this field, before summarising the key findings of numerous peer support programmes which the mental Health Foundation has been involved with. It concludes with recommendations for expanding informal and formal peer support and the annex of the document provides the views of people who have given and received peer support.

Best practice for breastfeeding peer support. A practical guide for those purchasing breastfeeding support

This guide is designed to give NHS managers involved in commissioning breastfeeding peer support services an insight into what a good quality, effective initiative should include. The guide aims to give an understanding of some of the pitfalls of running a programme and looks at peer recruitment, training, retention, supervision and funding. The guide appears to be the collective experience of people who have run breastfeeding peer support programmes. It does not appear to have engaged with service users and has not conducted new or independent research.

Problem drinking and peer support in cyberspace

This resource is an evauluation of online peer support groups for alcohol addiction written by Nottingham university. The evaluation conducted a survey with people who use online groups and a qualitative analysis of over 700 messages posted in three online support groups. The evaluation investigated the percieved advantages and disadvantages of the online groups, the nature and extent to which members felt empowered, and the nature of the communication that takes place in the groups.

Peer support practice in Aotearoa New Zealand

This resource is a study of peer support programmes in New Zealand, (including Maori orientated services) and discusses how some programmes have developed over time. While the study was not designed to measure the effectiveness of peer support it does include qualitative evidence that can show the effectiveness of peer support. The study also looks at common risks and issues peer support groups face, how the peer support programme links in with the wider health system and discusses how peers support is strengths-based and recovery focused.

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