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Doing research about peer support: from friendly qualitative enquiry to sca...

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Black Dog Institute Lecture Theatre

Hospital Road

Randwick, NSW 2031

Australia

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Black Dog Institute & Qualitative Research Network Hub Guest Lecture


Doing research about peer support: from friendly qualitative enquiry to scary RCT


Dr Steve Gillard, St George's University of London


Our research has always focused on people’s experiences and understandings of their mental health and the mental health care they receive, and more recently the increasing role people play in producing the mental health services they make use of. And that research has always been informed and shaped by the perspectives of researchers who use their own experiences of mental distress in their work. So we inevitably became involved/ preoccupied by peer support and what that looked like when mental health services started employing peer workers. We found much that was positive and inspiring, and also much that was challenging as the values underpinning peer support met the formal organisational cultures of statutory healthcare services. Foolishly or otherwise our response has been a programme of research to develop, pilot and trial and peer worker intervention to support discharge from inpatient to community mental health services. The challenge of running an RCT aside, our commitment to peer support and the centrality of experiential knowledge in the way we do our research has led us to ask ‘are we sure it is peer support that we are evaluating here’? And ‘if it does work, what exactly is going on’? So we become qualitative researchers again.

Biography

Dr Steve Gillard is Reader in Social and Community Mental Health in the Population Health Research Institute at St George's, University of London. His current research focuses on the increasing role played by people with lived experience of mental health problems in producing the support that they make use of - the development of more distributed forms of mental health care - including the introduction of new Peer Worker roles into mental health services. His research is underpinned by standpoint epistemology and co-production approaches to research; working alongside researchers with lived experience to critique and strengthen, methodologically, the way in which we produce knowledge about mental health.

Lecture to be followed by a light lunch.

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Black Dog Institute Lecture Theatre

Hospital Road

Randwick, NSW 2031

Australia

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