Friday, 18 December 2015

'So if we like the idea of peer workers, why aren’t we seeing more?' Jun15 paper @SimonSRN

'So if we like the idea of peer workers, why aren’t we seeing more?', authors Jacki Gordon and Simon Bradstreet; published in World Journal of Psychiatry, 2015 June 22; 5(2): 160-166

Having surfaced from over 3 years of campaigning for justice in respect of the human rights abuses in Stratheden Hospital, I have returned to the topic of mental health peer support and the reason I first got meaningfully involved in Scotland's mental health world, setting up Peer Support Fife in Jan08 and my own website to deliver recovery-focused training.

I'm doing this so as to make sense of my journey so far.  And Emailed the Scottish Recovery Network Officer responsible for the Peer Support Working programme, to ask what's been happening with peer worker roles.  Because I'm not aware of any developments.  I received a response and here is the main body of it:

"SRN produced a review of peer working in 2013, see Peer working: a new way of working in mental health | News Archive 2013 for Scottish Government to meet one of their commitments in the last Mental Health Strategy. Peer working has been slowly developing though not as quickly as we would like. We do not routinely collect data on the number of peer working posts and there is no obligation on services to inform us of peer worker development. Our estimate is that there is between 65-70 roles; the majority of which are in the voluntary sector.

In order to try and understand the reasons behind the disappointing pace of development SRN commissioned research which is informing our approach. You can find the report on our website at So if we like the idea of peer workers, why aren’t we seeing more? | Latest News. From my contact with people internationally, and associated research, Scotland is not unique in the low development of paid roles and reasons are similar internationally.

SRN continue to promote and support peer roles as well as provide direct development support to services. This includes:

·        The Peer Learning Network which meets twice a year and continues to grow in numbers;

·        Work with a range of services to support them in the development and implementation of peer worker roles;

·        Providing information, guidance and support to organisations developing and supporting peer volunteer roles;

·        Supporting the delivery of the PDA Mental Health Peer Support in a number of areas and, more recently, by developing further peer support training materials through the Peer2Peer European project more information at  Peer support training course is a European success | Latest News

SRN remain committed to the development and support of peer support roles in mental health and to working with others to make this happen. The resources developed are proving to be essential and valuable to this process."

[Thanks to Lesley for this response]


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