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The transition from patient to mental health peer worker: A grounded theory approach
Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University Centre for Nursing and Midwifery, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; VIVES University of Applied Sciences, Kortrijk, Belgium; Psychiatric Hospital, Centre for Psychiatry & Psychotherapy Clinic St-Joseph, Pittem, Belgium.
Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University Centre for Nursing and Midwifery, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; Alexian Psychiatric Hospital, Tienen, Alexianen Care Group, Tienen, Belgium.
Örebro University, School of Health Sciences. Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University Centre for Nursing and Midwifery, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Skin Integrity Research Group (SKINT), University Centre for Nursing and Midwifery, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; School of Nursing and Midwifery, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3080-8716
Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University Centre for Nursing and Midwifery, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; VIVES University of Applied Sciences, Kortrijk, Belgium; Psychiatric Hospital, Centre for Psychiatry & Psychotherapy Clinic St-Joseph, Pittem, Belgium.
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2019 (English)In: International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, ISSN 1445-8330, E-ISSN 1447-0349, Vol. 28, no 2, p. 560-571Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Peer workers are increasingly being engaged in contemporary mental healthcare. To become a peer worker, patients must evolve from having a patient identity to a peer worker identity. This study aims to understand how mental health peer workers experience their transition and how it affects their view of themselves and their direct working context. A grounded theory approach was used. Seventeen mental health peer workers in Belgium were recruited through theoretical sampling. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and analysed according to the constant comparative method. The results indicate that novice peer workers experience peer work as an opportunity to liberate themselves from the process of mental suffering and realise an acceptable form of personal self-maintenance. As peer workers become more experienced, they are confronted with external factors that influence their self-maintenance and personal development. Experiencing clarity in their duties and responsibilities, equality, and transparency in the workplace reinforce their experience of self-maintenance and positively influence their self-development. Experiencing a lack of clarity in their duties and responsibilities, inequality, and lack of openness discourage peer workers' self-development process. These experiences challenge their personal motivations to become peer workers, which are usually linked to building a meaningful life for themselves. The insights can encourage organisations to build up a supportive environment collaboratively with peer workers and ensure that peer workers can exert their authentically unique role in mental healthcare.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Blackwell Publishing, 2019. Vol. 28, no 2, p. 560-571
Keywords [en]
Lived experience, mental healthcare, peer worker, qualitative research, transition
National Category
Social Work Psychiatry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-71195DOI: 10.1111/inm.12561ISI: 000460556300017PubMedID: 30575270Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85058965567OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-71195DiVA, id: diva2:1276751
Available from: 2019-01-08 Created: 2019-01-08 Last updated: 2019-06-18Bibliographically approved

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Beeckman, Dimitri

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