Becoming peer educators in workplace mental health: Qualitative exploration of challenges and opportunities Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • BACKGROUND: Peer-led workplace mental health training programs informed by the principles of contact-based education have shown promising results, but research evidence largely focuses on measuring outcomes for service recipients with little attention to the experiences of peer educators in delivering these interventions. OBJECTIVE: To gain in-depth knowledge about the opportunities and challenges experienced peer educators recruited to lead a mental health literacy training program for healthcare workers. METHODS: An interpretive description approach was used to explore the experiences of peer educators in providing a structured two-day “Beyond Silence” workplace mental health training program. Peer educators were healthcare workers with personal mental health experience, who completed an additional leadership training. Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with seven peer educators. Data collection and analysis was concurrent and iterative, employing inductive analysis. RESULTS: Four overarching themes captured the key opportunities and challenges faced by peer educators: 1) the art and science of providing mental health literacy training, 2) power of personal stories, 3) competence as a journey or a destination and 4) the dual role of educator and advocate. CONCLUSIONS: Recommendations are provided for recruitment, training, and support for peer educators. Future research could focus on longitudinal evaluation of engagement and sustainability of peer educators in this role.

publication date

  • May 19, 2022

published in