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ENRICHMENT: Introducing peer workers into mental health services V1.0

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    ENRICHMENT: Informing the successful introduction of Peer Workers into mental health services.



  • Contact name

    Steve Gillard

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    City, University of London

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    0 years, 10 months, 31 days

  • Research summary

    When people with shared experiences of mental distress support each other, this is often called peer support. Research exploring its effectiveness is mixed and inconclusive, suggesting that peer support can vary in content as well as which outcomes are deemed important to measure. Increasing numbers of people are being trained and employed as peer workers to provide one-to-one peer support in mental health services. There is a lack of understanding of how peer support works with different ethnic populations, and in specialist services for people with different mental health diagnoses.
    In our previous research programme (ENRICH) we evaluated peer support to improve people’s experiences and outcomes of discharge from inpatient to community care. Nearly 300 people received ENRICH peer support. We collected in-depth information about their experiences, and those of 40 peer workers and managers. Results showed that peer support reduced readmission to hospital for people who received at least two sessions of peer support, and that Black people were more likely to benefit.
    We aim to build on this research to understand the individual and organisational factors that support people to take part in sessions of peer support (sometimes called “engagement with” peer support). We will explore the complexities and opportunities of delivering peer support in different cultural contexts, and use research findings to inform ENRICH's handbook and training to different populations and clinical services (often known as Complex Emotional Needs Services for individuals who receive a diagnosis of Personality Disorder).
    This research will involve qualitative interviews with individuals who take part in peer support as well as NHS professionals who work alongside peer workers. Participants will be selected from up to four mental health NHS Trusts and their community sector partner organisations in England.

  • REC name

    North West - Preston Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    8 Jun 2022

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion