A one-year longitudinal qualitative study of peer support services in a non-Western context: The perspectives of peer support workers, service users, and co-workers
This study explored the changing views of key stakeholders (peer support workers, their co-workers, and service users) about peer support services in a non-Western community, using a longitudinal qualitative approach. Five trainee peer support workers (PSWs), 15 service users, and 14 co-workers were interviewed over a 12-month period, under the auspices of the Peer Support Workers Project (also known as the Mindset project) in Hong Kong. A total of 77 interviews were transcribed and thematic analyses were conducted across the participant groups at three different time points (training, work placements, and employment).
During the initial implementation of the services, uncertainty about the role of the PSWs were reported. However, trusting and beneficial relationships with service users were gradually built, showing growing resilience and confidence over time. The participants realized that PSWs’ experiences of mental illnesses were a unique asset that could help service users to alleviate their own somatic symptoms and improve their connections with others.
Our findings highlight that the perceptions of peer support services changed from confusion to viewing PSWs as an asset, to an awareness of the importance of family support, and to the belief that implementing such a program will benefit both service users and PSWs.
Reference：Tse, S., Mak, W. W., Lo, I. W., Liu, L. L., Yuen, W. W., Yau, S., … Wong, S. (2017). A one-year longitudinal qualitative study of peer support services in a non-Western context: The perspectives of peer support workers, service users, and co-workers. Psychiatry Research, 255, 27–35. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.05.007