Introducing New Peer Worker Roles into Mental Health Services in England: Comparative Case Study Research Across a Range of Organisational Contexts

  • Steve Gillard
  • Jess Holley
  • Sarah Gibson
  • John Larsen
  • Mike Lucock
  • Eivor Oborn
  • Miles Rinaldi
  • Elina Stamou
Original Article


A wide variety of peer worker roles is being introduced into mental health services internationally. Empirical insight into whether conditions supporting role introduction are common across organisational contexts is lacking. A qualitative, comparative case study compared the introduction of peer workers employed in the statutory sector, voluntary sector and in organisational partnerships. We found good practice across contexts in structural issues including recruitment and training, but differences in expectations of the peer worker role in different organisational cultures. Issues of professionalism and practice boundaries were important everywhere but could be understood very differently, sometimes eroding the distinctiveness of the role.


Peer support Organisational culture Qualitative research Comparative case study Mental health workforce 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steve Gillard
    • 1
  • Jess Holley
    • 1
  • Sarah Gibson
    • 1
  • John Larsen
    • 2
  • Mike Lucock
    • 3
  • Eivor Oborn
    • 4
  • Miles Rinaldi
    • 5
  • Elina Stamou
    • 6
  1. 1.Population Health Research InstituteSt George’s, University of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Rethink Mental IllnessLondonUK
  3. 3.Centre for Health & Social Care ResearchUniversity of HuddersfieldHuddersfieldUK
  4. 4.Warwick Business SchoolUniversity of WarwickWarwickUK
  5. 5.South West London & St George’s Mental Health NHS TrustLondonUK
  6. 6.Together for Mental WellbeingLondonUK

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