Peer support is offered by District Health Board to support the recovery in relation to mental illness and is a growing part of the mental health sector. This report looks at how peer supporters view their practice, focussing specifically on it focuses of practitioners of peer support rather than the impact of effectiveness of the peer support. Paid peer supporters were interviewed about how peer support relationships conceptualised by peer supporters, how peer support relationships affect lives and recovery, and how difficulties and constraints are managed.
This study was based on individual or group interviews with peer supporters and peer support managers, conducted at fourteen peer support services around Aotearoa New Zealand. The services were based in ten organisations which vary on a number of dimensions, such as size, whether it is consumer-led, organisational structure, services offered, and type of peer support used. Each participant in the twelve mainstream services took part in two individual interviews, one focused on peer support relationships and the other focused on policy and practice. In the two kaupapa Māori services, a tikanga based group interview process was held over a period of two days. The study was approved by the Multi-Regional Health and Disability Committee of New Zealand.