Transforming the culture of mental health services through peer support

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These web pages describe a project in Nottingham that recruited, trained and supported peer workers with the aim of promoting recovery-focused practice, improving the experience of service users and improving outcomes.

The web pages describe the activities that the project undertook, including: providing training to services participating in the project; recruiting and training the peer support workers; managing, supervising and supporting them; and carrying out rigorous evaluation of training, supervision, management and team working, and of the impact of the project on the peer support workers and service users alike.

Successes included developing developing positive and transformative relationships with staff, who became more accepting of mental health problems among co-workers, more hopeful and more willing to try new approaches and a positive shift towards a recovery-based culture within the Trust.

Challenges included creating a new referral system which required clients to be told how this type of support works and agreeing to meet a peer support worker to find out more, building a better understanding amongst other professionals about their role, and overcoming resistance to change within teams and anxieties that otherĀ  roles could be threatened.

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