Apr 25 2014
In this blog, I’m going to be discussing a recent systematic review and meta-analysis of “peer support for people with serious mental illness” (Lloyd-Evans et al, 2014). It’s something of a personal (as well as an academic) interest, as I am a carer and have been involved in mutual peer support groups myself. I have given and received support from people in similar circumstances to me and I have experienced the benefits of being able to describe a difficulty or problem with people who are going through the same things as me, which is very powerful and indeed empowering.
There has been a grassroots movement of peer support as an integral part of the recovery movement. A natural evolution of mutual peer support is the concept of paid peer support, where supporters are employed by the mental health service or a peer led service is provided to complement mainstream care.
However, any new service development or intervention needs to demonstrate that it’s not just an intuitively good idea, but also that it is:
Acceptable: to the people it is aimed at Feasible: that it is possible to implement, realistic and achievable Generalisable: it can work with similar populations in different geographical areas or settings Clinically effective: has a positive impact on service user outcomes Cost-effective: there is a return on investment Equity of access: it’s available to all those who could benefit from it