Authors: Grace Zeng , WA
Event: 2014 TheMHS Conference
Subject: book of proceedings 2014
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: With the increasing support for social inclusion and recovery, the employment of peer workers has become increasingly popular in both non-government organisations and public sector health services. Even though a number of benefits to peer support have been documented in literature, there remains a gap in understanding how the various types of peer support facilities influence recovery from mental distress. The purpose of this paper is to (1) Highlight the unique contribution peer workers make to mental health service provision; (2) Discuss the impact of peer work on a person’s recovery; (3) Examine implications for mental health services. Interviews were conducted with peer managers, peer workers and peers to understand how peer support facilitates recovery. Findings highlight that intentional peer work is a complex intervention that builds on lived experience to foster hope for recovery in a person. Peer workers carry a unique combination of lived experience and skills in working with peers. To ensure the sustainability and value of the workforce, it is imperative that organisations adopt a recovery oriented, person centred approach to working to support peer workers and the people they serve.