Service User Experiences of Peer Support in an Adult Community Mental Health Service: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Mullineaux, Louise (2017) Service User Experiences of Peer Support in an Adult Community Mental Health Service: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis explores the experiences of individuals who have received mental health peer support (PS) within a National Health Service (NHS) adult community mental health team. PS is increasingly popular in mental health services in the United Kingdom; however, there is not yet a well-developed evidence base. Literature pertaining to the experiences of those who receive PS is particularly limited, and therefore research has tended to overlook what matters to recipients themselves.
The purpose of the research study was to explore how individuals in receipt of PS made sense of their experience, and what they found most helpful.
NHS and local ethical approval was granted. Peer support workers were asked to suggest potential participants who fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Five participants were interviewed using open-ended, semi-structured interviews. Verbatim transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.
Analysis of transcripts resulted in 3 super-ordinate themes, in which a period of reflection on identity and relationship preceded a period of more active, outwardly observable change. The first theme, power of relationship, reflected participants’ experiential accounts of a felt sense of emotional safety, a sense of equality and a feeling of hope, arising out of the sharing of lived experience. The second theme, focus on change, highlighted the importance to participants of a shared commitment to sustained positive change, through advocacy to mental health teams, role-modelling and the sharing of knowledge. The final theme, psychological impact, reflected an increased desire for social connection and contribution. The findings support the centrality of relationship over “intervention”, and suggest that both models of PS and future service evaluations incorporate recipient experience.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Stacey Armes
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2018 15:13
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2018 15:13

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