Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 477–490 | Cite as

Peer Worker Roles and Risk in Mental Health Services: A Qualitative Comparative Case Study

  • Jessica HolleyEmail author
  • Steve Gillard
  • Sarah Gibson
Original Paper


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.


Peer support Well-being Risk management Qualitative research 


Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Population Health Sciences and Education, Section of Mental HealthSt George’s University of LondonLondonUK

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