Peer Supporters’ Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing needs: Key Factors and Opportunities for Co-Produced Training

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Abstract

Introduction: Peer supporters are a valuable asset to mental health and support services, but their own mental health needs are often overlooked in research and practice. This study explored peer supporters' perceived challenges of maintaining their mental health and emotional wellbeing and co‐produced training needs. Methods: A qualitative approach was used to explore factors affecting peer supporters' mental health and emotional wellbeing. Semi‐structured interviews and focus groups were conducted online with 11 peer supporters across North East England. Results: A thematic analysis identified: ‘Lack of training and support’, ‘Role ambiguity’ and ‘Emotional labour’ as challenges experienced by peer supporters in relation to maintaining their mental health and emotional wellbeing. Peer supporters' own lived experiences had the potential to act as a barrier towards providing support to others. Conflict with peer ‘supportees’ sometimes negatively impacted on the peer supporter experience. Participant responses emphasised a need for person‐centred, co‐produced training. Conclusion: This work highlights the need for targeted training for peer supporters, including both role‐specific education and strategies to support their mental health and emotional wellbeing. Patient or Public Contribution: Participants were contacted and asked to provide feedback on finalised themes to ensure the analysis was congruent with their experiences, further enabling the future development of an emotional wellbeing training programme for peer supporters.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Expectations
Early online date10 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Aug 2023

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