Peer Worker Roles and Risk in Mental Health Services: A Qualitative Comparative Case Study
New peer worker roles are being introduced into mental health services internationally. This paper addresses a lack of research exploring issues of risk in relation to the role. In-depth interviews were carried out with 91 peer workers, service users, staff and managers. A grounded analysis revealed protective practice in minimising risk to peer worker well-being that restricted the sharing of lived experience, and a lack of insight into how peer workers might be involved in formal risk management. Alternatively, analysis revealed potential new understandings of risk management based on the distinctive, experiential knowledge that peer workers brought to the role.
KeywordsPeer support Well-being Risk management Qualitative research
- Boardman, J., & Roberts, G. (2014). Recovery, risk and safety: Implementing recovery through organisational change briefing paper 9. London: ImROC.Google Scholar
- Burstow, P., Duggan, S., Farmer, P., Cooney, P., Jenkins, P. & Adebowale, V. (2012). No health without mental health: Implementation framework. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
- Clifford, P. (2011). Evidence and principles for positive risk management. In R. Whittington & C. Logan (Eds.), Self-harm and violence: Towards best practice in managing risk in mental health services. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.Google Scholar
- Coleman, R., & Campbell, J. (2009). Roads to recovery peer development project: The first year. Ongoing evaluation of the developmental process. Nottingham: Working to Recovery Publications.Google Scholar
- Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Department of Health. (2007). Best practice in managing risk: Principles and guidance for best practice in the assessment and management of risk to self and others in mental health services. London: Department of Health.Google Scholar
- Gillard, S., Edwards, C., Gibson, S., Holley, J., & Owen, K. (2014a). 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. Health Services Delivery & Research. doi:10.3310/hsdr02190.
- Gillard, S., Gibson, S. L., Holley, J., & Lucock, M. (2014b). Developing a change model for peer worker interventions in mental health services: A qualitative research study. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences. doi:10.1017/S2045796014000407.
- Gillard, S., Holley, J., Gibson, S., Larsen, J., Lucock, M., Oborn, E. et al. (2014c). Introducing new peer worker roles into mental health services in England: Comparative case study research across a range of organisational contexts. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research. doi:10.1007/s10488-014-0603-z.
- Mason, J. (2002). Qualitative researching (2nd ed.). London: Sage.Google Scholar
- McLean, J., Biggs, H., Whitehead, I., Pratt, R., & Maxwell, M. (2009). Evaluation of the delivering for mental health peer support worker pilot scheme. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.Google Scholar
- Morgan, S. (2000). Risk-making or risk-taking? Openmind, 101, 16–17.Google Scholar
- Pitt, V., Lowe, D., Hill, S., Prictor, M., Hetrick, S.E., Ryan, R., et al. (2013). Consumer-providers of care for adult clients of statutory mental health services. Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 3, CD004807. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004807.pub2.
- Repper, J., Aldridge, B., Gilfoyle, S., Gillard, S., Perkins, R., & Rennison, J. (2013). Peer support workers: Theory and practice. London: IMROC.Google Scholar
- Royal College of Psychiatrists (2008) Rethinking risk to others in mental health services. College report CR 150. London: Royal College of Psychiatrists.Google Scholar
- Royal College of Psychiatrists (2010a) Self-harm, suicide and risk: helping people who self-harm. College report 158. London: Royal College of Psychiatrists.Google Scholar
- Salyers, M. P., Hicks, L. J., McGuire, A. B., Baumgardner, H., Ring, K., & Kim, H. W. (2009). A pilot to enhance the recovery orientation of assertive community treatment through peer-provided illness management and recovery. American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, 12(3), 191–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Scott, A., Doughty, C., Kahi, H. (2011). Peer support practice in Aotearoa New Zealand. Christchurch.Google Scholar
- Shepherd, G., Boardman, J., & Slade, M. (2008). A common purpose: Recovery in future mental health services. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
- Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research. Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (2nd ed.). London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Sweeney, A., Fahmy, S., Nolan, F., Morant, N., Fox, Z., Lloyd-Evans, B., & Johnson, S. (2014). The relationship between therapeutic alliance and service user satisfaction in mental health inpatient wards and crisis house alternatives: A cross-sectional study. PLoS One, 9(7), e100153.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar