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Report

Experts by experience: guidelines to support the development of peer worker roles in the mental health sector

These guidelines describe how to establish and grow peer support roles in mental health, while remaining true to the founding values of peer working. They include recruitment and training as well as supporting peer workers and helping to expand. The focus is on peer support that is embedded into healthcare settings and as such many of the recommendations are written with commissioners, managers and clinical staff in mind.

A helping hand: Consultations with service users about peer support

Groups of service users and peer supporters shared views about benefits and challenges of peer support. Benefits include: shared identity; development and sharing of skills; increased confidence; improved mental health and wellbeing; and the potential for challenging stigma and discrimination. Challenges were often associated with employing service users as peer support workers, including role conflict, setting boundaries and ensuring adequate training and support. These challenges with 'professionalising' peer support may influence the growth and sustainability of services.

Using personal experience to support others with similar difficulties

This literature review of research about peer support in mental health services, contains a number of examples of how programmes have developed and grown. The document is very well referenced throughout and discusses the evidence of the benefits of peer support (both for the individual and the system) as well as the challenges that can often occur. It discusses the balance of power shifting if peer workers are paid for their time, peer workers being exposed to high stress levels, and maintaining peer support workers’ distinct role

Evaluation framework: peer support for women living with mental health issues in the ACT

This evaluation framework was designed to measure the effectiveness of peer support as a means of reducing mental health symptoms and improving overall wellbeing and social connectedness in women living with mental health issues. It gives an overview of the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, Rosenberg's Self-Esteem Scale and the Social Provision Scale used for measuring the effectiveness of peer support.

Well ways evaluation

This report provides a case study of an evaluation of Well Ways, an Australia-wide peer-led group-based education and support programme for families and friends of people with a mental illness. The programme comprises eight 3-hour weekly sessions of education and discussion, followed by four workshops over the following 10 months.

Peer outcomes protocol: administration manual

The peer outcomes was designed to develop, field test, and distribute a way to evaluate mental health peer support programs or groups that are based in communities. It is a step-by-step guide for gathering information about the program or group, including a questionnaire to use as well as tools and tips for undertaking interviews. The hope is that by helping groups to accurately gather information about the outcomes people experience, groups can then grow, develop and evaluate what they are offering.

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