Developing a model for peer support in emergency departments
Emergency departments are often poorly equipped to respond appropriately to people who present with mental distress, both because of their physical environment and because of the knowledge of and demands on personnel. There is good evidence that peer workers improve people’s experience of mental health services by using their personal experiences of distress and recovery to support others. This project, funded by the Melbourne Social Equity Institute, considers the optimal role of peer workers in the emergence department setting.
We are co-producing an innovative service model drawing on research evidence in mental health and the built environment, stakeholder perspectives, and expertise from people with lived experience of mental health problems. The model will complement current innovations in peer roles and in emergency department settings.
Our approach to the methodology and design of this project is innovative because our project and expert panel are based on, and guided by, principles of co-production. This includes power differences being acknowledged and explored, people with lived experience being partners in the project from the outset, and the use of the project as an opportunity to grow consumer leadership and skills. The explicit inclusion of the built environment’s role in supporting consumer capacity building and leadership is also innovative.
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