New ways of working in mental health services: a qualitative, comparative case study assessing and informing the emergence of new peer worker roles in mental health services in England
Steve Gillard, Christine Edwards, Sarah Gibson, Jess Holley and Katherine Owen
National Institute for Health Research
A variety of peer worker roles are being introduced into the mental health workforce in England, in a range of organisational contexts and service delivery settings. The evidence base demonstrating the effectiveness of peer worker-based interventions is inconclusive and largely from outside England. An emerging qualitative literature points to a range of benefits, as well as challenges to introducing the peer worker role.
In this study the researchers aimed to test the international evidence base, and what is known generally about role adoption in public services, in a range of mental health services in England. They also aimed to develop organisational learning supporting the introduction of peer worker roles, identifying learning that was generic across mental health services and that which was specific to organisational contexts or service delivery settings.
The research was undertaken by a team that comprised researchers from a range of academic and clinical disciplines, service user researchers, a peer worker, and managers and service providers in the NHS and voluntary sector. Service user researchers undertook the majority of the data collection and analysis. We adopted a coproduction approach to research, integrating the range of perspectives in the team to shape the research process and interpret our findings.
HEALTH SERVICES AND DELIVERY RESEARCH
VOLUME 2 ISSUE 19 JULY 2014