Political changes imposed on mental health service provision alongside an increased number of people living with mental health problems, requires innovative approaches to community based interventions. Undertaking peer support for those living with mental health and social care issues has been long established as an effective approach to sustained wellbeing.
An evaluation to capture and formulate evidence of how a community based peer support group approach can be used to tackle sustainable mental wellbeing.
An academic institution with an ethos for applied research, inclusivity and citizen engagement was engaged to undertake an integrated evaluation to capture the subtleties and uniqueness of a peer support group approach. The People’s Academy provided a peer researcher (as someone with a lived experience of mental health services), to undertake a coproduction approach to the evaluation.
Findings reveal that those who utilise peer support, whether as peer support facilitators or as group members, state how such a fundamental ‘life line’ has improved social integration and self-confidence.
The study examines process and outcomes of an integrative evaluation, providing evidence for how peer support group work can be used effectively with underserved communities to promote mental health recovery.