Peer worker perspectives on the implementation of recovery-oriented practice in a clinical mental health service

Jaz Chisholm, Melissa Petrakis

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Recovery-oriented practice (ROP) is growing internationally in mental health services. The implementation of ROP into clinical services at Eastern Health was of interest to evaluate over time because the adoption of a ROP model was imminent. Various services have chosen different ROP models. Eastern Health commenced the implementation of the Collaborative Recovery Model, which is a holistic model comprising tools and principles to assist clinicians and other employees to work with people in a recovery-oriented way.

AIMS: The study aimed to examine the opinions of peer workers employed within the clinical service about ROP pre-implementation, and to evaluate these views against the current international ROP literature.

METHODS: ​​ A focus group was conducted using six semi-structured questions. The research design was couched within a narrative approach and was exploratory and social constructivist in nature. The data collected was qualitative, and was analysed for themes and content.

RESULTS: Recruited participants were six service user peer workers and two carer peer workers. Peer workers considered their roles as incorporating: educating clinicians, representing service users, aiding in cultural, structural and systemic shifts in service delivery, and acting as leaders. They also identified numerous barriers to the implementation of ROP, identified the qualities required to make an effective peer worker, and outlined aspects that are considered essential for best practice in ROP from a lived experience perspective. The results demonstrated the views of peer workers are potentially valuable in the implementation of ROP. Peer workers add lived experience and can conceivably contribute to clinician uptake and practice of ROP.

DISCUSSION /CONCLUSION: The present study contributes to the growing evidence that supports the inclusion of peer workers in mental health services. It suggests that the role of peer workers in the implementation of ROP is advantageous for both service users and the service.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2019
Event9th International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health 2019: Shaping the future - University of York Exhibition Centre, York, United Kingdom
Duration: 22 Jul 201926 Jul 2019
Conference number: 9th


Conference9th International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health 2019
Abbreviated titleICSW 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Peer work
  • Peer research
  • service user perspective.
  • Service user involvement

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