“The Best of Both Worlds”: Experiences of young people attending groups co-facilitated by peer workers and clinicians in a youth mental health service

Alicia Jean King, Magenta Bender Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: Groups facilitated by peer workers have been shown to be effective in improving recovery-related outcomes in adult populations. However, limited research has explored the involvement of peer workers in groups in youth mental health services. This qualitative study aimed to explore young people's experiences of participating in groups co-facilitated by youth peer workers and clinicians. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 young people aged 15–25 years who had attended groups conducted in-person and online at a tertiary youth mental health service. Young people were receiving individual support through the service for a range of mental health concerns. Groups were conducted by two clinicians and a youth peer worker who had used the same service and had undergone training in Intentional Peer Support®. An inductive approach using open, process, in vivo and pattern coding was used to identify key themes. Concept mapping was used to explore the relationships between them. Results: Nine overarching themes were identified that highlighted the unique and complementary contributions of youth peer worker and clinician roles. The sharing of lived experience by youth peer workers facilitated young people's engagement in group discussions, hope for the future, and sense of belonging, whereas clinical input created a sense of safety, structure and purpose. Conclusions: These findings support the value of a co-facilitation model in improving the engagement and recovery outcomes for young people experiencing mental health challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-75
Number of pages11
JournalEarly Intervention in Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescent
  • mental health
  • mental health services
  • peer support
  • qualitative research

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