Engage Aotearoa

Tag Archives: Peer Support Work

Research Evidence on Peer Support Work

In light of the recent media attention on Peer Support Work, the team at Engage Aotearoa thought it timely to share some research on peer support, should members of the community want to get some more information on the topic.

In a review published last year researchers cite a meta-analysis of 11 studies evaluating peer support against case management and clinical professionals in support roles, which concluded “No significant differences in symptoms, hospital admissions, service use, psychosocial functioning or client satisfaction were found. In a second category, six trials compared usual care with services with PSWs in adjunct roles, four with PSWs in mentoring or advocacy roles. There were no significant differences in quality of life, social relations, client satisfaction, hospital admissions, but a small reduction in emergency service use and a larger number of met needs. With these small benefits and no adverse effects found for PSW, Pitt et al. conclude in their review that PSW’s support was noninferior to support by mental health professionals” (emphasis added).

Reference: Mahlke C, Krämer UM, Becker T, Bock T, (2014). Peer support in mental health services. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 27/4, 276-81. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000074

In a 2011 review researchers noted that “it seems prudent to mention that a result of no difference demonstrates that people in recovery are able to offer support that maintains admission rates (relapse rates) at a comparable level to professionally trained staff” (emphasis added). They also point to several studies that reported improvements in empowerment, sense of independence,  self-esteem,  hope and community integration along with reduced internalised stigma.  Authors outline several challenges that face peer support workers in the execution of their roles, which require training and organisational support and go on to conclude that peer support workers “have the potential to drive through recovery-focused changes in mental-health services.”

Reference: Repper, J., & Carter, C., (2011). A review of the literature on peer support in mental health services. Journal of Mental Health, 20/4, 392-411.

A 2012 study of peer support worker perspectives of their work, showed that peer support workers are aware of the many challenges they face and highlight the value of their training in enabling them to deal with such challenging issues as self-disclosure and managing boundaries.

Reference: Kemp, V., & Henderson, A.R., (2012). Challenges faced by mental health peer support workers: peer support from the peer supporter’s point of view. Psychiatric rehabilitation journal, 35/4, 337-40.

There is a notable lack of evidence to suggest that peer support work carries risks that are not inherent to any work in the mental-health field and which cannot be overcome without adequate training and supervision. In 2014, Te Pou launched a set of core competencies for peer support workers in New Zealand, to help define the role and help regulate who is able to practice as a peer support worker in mental-health and addictions services. Importantly, in Mary O’Hagan’s 2010 paper, we hear service-users’ own answers to the question “What are the benefits of peer support to you?
  • Knowing you are not alone. Seeing that you are able to live with a mental health diagnosis and still go to school, get degrees, have a job, have a relationship and family. Feeling you are more ‘normal’ or ‘okay’.
  • If it were not for peer support, I wouldn’t be alive.
  • My life was turned around.
  • It was my passage way to getting better, pretty much the only one.
Reference: O’Hagan, M., Cyr, C., McKee, H., & Priest, R. (2010). Making the Case for Peer Support. Mental Health Commission of Canada. Cited in O’Hagan (2011). Peer Support in Mental Health and Addictions: A Background Paper Prepared for Kites Trust.

Find out more about Peer Support in NZ at Kites Trust, the Peer Workers Association or Mind and Body Learning and Development.

Peer Support Worker Wanted in Manukau

Connect Supporting Recovery are looking for a Peer Support Worker who:

  • Has a Current drivers licence
  • Is mature, patient and respectful.
  • Has experienced problems with their own substance use and recovery and can act as a role model to others
  • Has good communication and active listening skills
  • Is positive and encouraging with a good sense of humour.
  • Is willling to learn
  • Will hang in there when the going gets tough and is resilient an assertive
  • Is a critical and reflective thinker
  • Is able to work independently and as part of a supportive team.
  • Has their own transport
  • Has computer skills  – essential
  • Has completed Peer Employment Training and/or IPS training

Click here for the full position description.

To apply, please submit a Cover letter and CV to:

  • June Raynard – Administrator
  • administrator@connectsr.org.nz

North Shore Peer Support Work Opportunity

Mental Health Peer Support Worker

Based on the North Shore & Rodney, Auckland

Are you looking for an exciting role where you can make a difference using your personal experience of mental ill health and recovery? If the answer is yes, then this might be the job for you!

Connect: Supporting Recovery is an innovative, entrepreneurial organisation that sits at the cutting edge of values-based mental health and AOD services.  The successful candidates will be based within the Reach Out service on the North Shore where we deliver Peer Support to people living on the North Shore and in Rodney.

Peer support is a challenging role, which requires tenacity, resilience and a sense of humour.  It is also a rewarding role where you can use your own experience of recovery from mental ill health to make a difference in the lives of others.  As role model and peer, you will be inspiring hope through sharing your own story of recovery with those who are looking at moving towards different choices and options in their lives.

The role of Peer Support Worker will require of you to build a relationship with others based on a common and shared experience of mental distress.   The relationship fosters mutual learning and growth and is strongly focused on supporting people to make positive changes in their lives.

They are looking for someone who:

  • Has strong cultural competencies in working within different cultures including working with youth and Maori.
  • Is mature, patient and respectful.
  • Has experienced mental distress and recovery themselves and can be a role model to others.
  • Has good communication and active listening skills
  • Hangs in there when the going gets tough – is resilient and assertive.
  • Is a critical and reflective thinker with strong self awareness
  • Is able to work independently and as part of a supportive team.
  • Can multitask and is flexible
  • Have a full driver’s license and access to their own vehicle.
  • Has computer skills (especially e-mail and word processing).

If you are interested in the above position, please send your expression of interest and CV to the following address:

The Administrator

PO Box 102149

North Shore Mail Centre 0745

Or via email to: admin@connectsr.org.nz

Applications close at 11am on Friday 2 December 2011. Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.