New ways of working in mental health services: assessing and informing the emergence of Peer Worker roles in mental health service delivery

New! Read our latest research output:

Introducing Peer Workers into Mental Health Services: an Organisational Toolkit

The Peer Worker Research Project

Peer Workers are people who have experience of mental health issues and who are employed, either in a paid or voluntary capacity, to use that experience for the benefit of another person experiencing mental health issues.

The Peer Worker Research Project was set up to explore how Peer Worker roles are being introduced into mental health services nationally, in both NHS Mental Health Trusts and in the voluntary sector. We aimed to assess what was already known from the existing evidence about introducing Peer Worker roles to see to what extent it applies in a range of mental health services in England. We also aimed to develop guidance and online resources about what supports Peer Workers to carry out their role effectively.

The Peer Worker Research Project is now completed.

We carried out 10 research case studies in services across England of initiatives that involve Peer Workers. In each case study we carried out interviews with peer workers, service users, other staff, managers and senior managers and looked at documents used to recruit and train Peer Workers.

The study ran from July 2011 to May 2013 and was funded by the Health Services & Delivery Research programme of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR).

The full report of the Peer Worker research project is now available to download:

New Ways of Working in Mental Health Services: assessing and informing the introduction of peer worker roles in mental health service delivery

To download a printable PDF of the two page Briefing Summary of the Project click here.

Please see below for a number of other publications by the team based on the Peer Worker research project:

Gillard S & Holley J (2014) Peer workers in mental health services; why now and how? An overview of recent literature Advances in Psychiatric Treatment doi: 10.1192/apt.bp.113.011940

Gillard S, Gibson S, Holley J & Lucock M (2014) Developing a change model for peer worker interventions in mental health services: a qualitative research study. Epidemiological & Psychiatric Sciences doi: 10.1017/S2045796014000407

Gillard S, Holley J, Gibson S, et al. (2014) Introducing new peer worker roles into mental health services in England: Comparative case study research across a range of organisational contexts Administration & Policy in Mental Health doi: 10.1007/s10488-014-0603-z

Holley J, Gillard S & Gibson S (2015) Peer worker roles and risk in mental health services: a qualitative comparative case study Community Mental Health Journal doi: 10.1007/s10597-015-9843-y


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