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The transition from patient to mental health peer worker : a grounded theory approach

Bart Debyser (UGent) , Kevin Berben, Dimitri Beeckman (UGent) , Eddy Deproost (UGent) , Ann Van Hecke (UGent) and Sofie Verhaeghe (UGent)
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Abstract
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.
Keywords
Phychiatric Mental Health

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Chicago
Debyser, Bart, Kevin Berben, Dimitri Beeckman, Eddy Deproost, Ann Van Hecke, and Sofie Verhaeghe. 2019. “The Transition from Patient to Mental Health Peer Worker : a Grounded Theory Approach.” International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.
APA
Debyser, B., Berben, K., Beeckman, D., Deproost, E., Van Hecke, A., & Verhaeghe, S. (2019). The transition from patient to mental health peer worker : a grounded theory approach. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MENTAL HEALTH NURSING.
Vancouver
1.
Debyser B, Berben K, Beeckman D, Deproost E, Van Hecke A, Verhaeghe S. The transition from patient to mental health peer worker : a grounded theory approach. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MENTAL HEALTH NURSING. 2019;
MLA
Debyser, Bart et al. “The Transition from Patient to Mental Health Peer Worker : a Grounded Theory Approach.” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MENTAL HEALTH NURSING (2019): n. pag. Print.
@article{8587059,
  abstract     = {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.},
  author       = {Debyser, Bart and Berben, Kevin and Beeckman, Dimitri and Deproost, Eddy and Van Hecke, Ann and Verhaeghe, Sofie},
  issn         = {1445-8330},
  journal      = {INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MENTAL HEALTH NURSING},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {The transition from patient to mental health peer worker : a~grounded theory approach},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/inm.12561},
  year         = {2019},
}

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