Intentional Peer Support: An Emerging Trend in Mental Health
Wide Bay Mental Health Alcohol Other Drugs Services
This paper considers current literature about the expanding role peer support is playing in mental health care internationally. This has implications for service development and planning at the local level. Issues impacting the emerging peer workforce are introduced.
IPS is distinctly different from non-peer approaches. Therefore the integration of IPS programs into mainstream mental health services create tensions that must be negotiated. Such tensions include (but are not limited to) managing power dynamics between peer and non-peer staff; managing dual relationships that are common in peer support; negotiating differences in assessing and managing risk; and ensuring peer workers have access to peer specific training and support. Strong organizational leadership and commitment to peer work is seen as the most fundamental determinant for the successful integration of a peer workforce.