Engage Aotearoa

Tag Archives: Research

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.

Study Looks at Experiences with Antidepressants in NZ

Have your say on your experience of taking antidepressants

Have you been prescribed an antidepressant in the past five years?

A team of university researchers is keen to see what you have to say about a number of things related to your experiences with these types of medications.

The researchers, from The University of Auckland’s Department of Psychology, are for the first time surveying New Zealanders on their antidepressant use.

Anyone who has been prescribed antidepressant medication in the last five years is eligible to take part in the survey, even if they are no longer taking them. And, if you have been prescribed antidepressants but decided not to take them, you are also encouraged to take part.

The research team hopes that at least 1,000 people will take part in the anonymous online survey, which they have called: Views and Experiences of Antidepressants in New Zealand

A parallel survey of GPs is being conducted by a PhD student associated with the research team, seeking doctors’ views about depression and antidepressants.

Speech Therapy Research Seeks Participants: Info for Parents/Guardians

The use of Cantonese classifiers by Cantonese speaking children (5 – 7 years old) growing up in the bilingual environment of New Zealand.

Investigators: Dr Elaine Ballard and Miss Su’Rynn Wong

Information Sheet for Parents/Guardians

Dear Parent/Guardian,

My name is Su’Rynn Wong and I am a Speech and Language Therapy student at the University of Auckland. As part of my training, I am required to do a research project and my focus is on Cantonese grammar (language structure) of Cantonese speaking children with typical language development growing up in the bilingual environment ofNew Zealand. The research aims to obtain some normative information for Cantonese children growing up in the bilingual environment ofNew Zealand.  Results of this study will provide therapists with a guideline of typical language development to assist with assessing the presence of language disorders or delays in Cantonese speaking children.  It also provides non-Cantonese speaking speech language therapists with information specific to Cantonese, in order to improve services for Cantonese children.

I would like to invite you and your child to participate in my research and would be very grateful for your assistance. The research will involve an interview with you as well as one 30 minute picture naming session with your child.

The session will be held at your convenience in one of the following locations of your choice: the Speech Language Therapy clinic of theUniversityofAuckland(Tamaki Campus), your child’s school or at your home. You are invited to be present in the picture naming session and observe how your child performs. The assessment sessions will be audio taped for analysis and the student who will be assisting me with the recording will have signed a confidentiality agreement to ensure your privacy. She will not see any other information apart from the tape. Your names and other information will not be shared.  You may choose to have the recorder turned off at any time without giving a reason.  If you are uncomfortable with your child being audio taped during the assessment sessions, you will be unable to participate further in the research project.

Participation is voluntary; you do not have to take part. If you are not interested in participating, please be assured that this will not have any impact or influence on your relationship with the school or your child’s grades. If you choose to allow your child to participate in this study, I would also like to look at any speech and language assessments the school may have on file for your child.

All personal information about the participating children will remain strictly confidential and no material that could personally identify them will be used in any report of this study.  You are free to withdraw from the research at any time before 1st September, 2012, without explanation, should you wish to do so.  A copy of the final report is available to you at your request.

The audio-tapes and the data collected will be stored in a locked cabinet at the Tamaki Campus of theUniversityofAucklandby the secretary of the Psychology department. They will be destroyed (tapes erased and paper records shredded) 6 years after completion of the project.

If you are willing for your child to participate in this research, please complete the consent form and return it to the school.

If you have any queries or concerns regarding your rights as a participant in this study, you may wish to contact the principle investigator, DrElaine Ballard.

Thank you for reading this information sheet and considering this invitation.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require further information.

Yours sincerely,

Su’Rynn Wong

Speech and Language Therapy Student

Department of Psychology, University of Auckland

Private Bag 92019,Auckland, Tel: 021 0306020

Email: swon189@aucklanduni.ac.nz