Development of a peer counsellor program
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SubjectHuman Rights; Mental Health; Peer Counselling; Peer Led Service; Peer Services; Peer Support
The development of clinical peer counselling within BC Schizophrenia Society Victoria (BCSSV) would be an innovation to the local mental health community that could enhance client illness management. This qualitative action research sought to enhance alignment between lived experience of mental illness recovery and professionalism, thereby adding value to the broader field of mental health support programs. Results showed that ethics, disclosure, boundaries, human rights, definitions, readiness, training, supervision, recruitment, liability and strengths need to be further explored prior to program implementation. The conclusions suggested this type of program needs a strong ethical base, a philosophy that supports organizational readiness and change management strategies, understands the complexity of liability and utilizes already existing community resources. The recommendations support community consultation towards a viability assessment, development of an organizational wellness recovery action plan, proper program parameter development such as defining peer support vs. peer counselling, and further research into peer-led services.
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