Challenges Faced by Mental Health Peer Support Workers – Peer S

OBJECTIVE:This study aimed to identify the various challenges encountered by peer support workers in Western Australia in the course of their work and to identify possible solutions to those challenges.

We used the nominal group technique to collect and analyze the data.

The main challenge encountered by participants was a lack of understanding of the peer support worker role which caused them to experience a sense of exclusion. The main solution focused on strategies to educate consumers, managers, and health professionals about the peer support worker role.

Managers have a responsibility to be informed about the peer support worker role and communicate role related information to other team members to ensure that peer support workers are included as part of the health team. Implications for practice therefore center on training for managers and inclusion of the peer support worker role in orientation programs. Further, if these steps are not undertaken, a valuable resource could be lost to a health service to the detriment of persons with a mental illness.