Issues in Mental Health Nursing
Taylor and Francis
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Serious mental illnesses affect how people feel, think, and behave, and frequently contribute to disability in psychosocial and occupational functioning and quality of life (American Psychiatric Association 2015; Harvey & Strassnig, 2012; Mohamed et al., 2008). Psychosocial interventions designed to support people with schizophrenia and their families have shown to improve the person’s rehabilitation, reintegration into the community, and recovery (The National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, 2009; Pharoah et al., 2012). Peer workers are defined as individuals with lived experience of mental illness (Aguey-Zinsou et al., 2018), with peer support principles based on shared responsibility and mutual respect (Mead et al., 2001). These peer workers have been identified to contribute to the recovery of people with various mental health problems (Hurley et al., 2016). Peer support programmes are an increasingly important strategy in managing complex conditions and establishing partnerships (Bradstreet & Pratt, 2010). Clinical staff report value and numerous benefits that lived experience brings to services, as peers share their experience to support others in their recovery journey (Aguey-Zinsou et al., 2018). Peer support increases hope, empowerment, and quality of life, which are the essential components in mental health recovery (Aguey-Zinsou et al., 2018). Collaboration between mental health nurses and peer support workers has the potential to improve recovery-orientated care. Peer workers who advocate for individuals with similar health problems that they had experienced before, and facilitate related decision-making in illness management are viewed favourably in a clinical context (Cleary et al., 2018).