Mental health peer support for hospital avoidance and early discharge: an Australian example of consumer driven and operated service

LAWN Sharon, SMITH Ann, HUNTER Kelly
Journal article citation:
Journal of Mental Health, 17(5), October 2008, pp.498-508.
Taylor and Francis
Place of publication:

This study provides an evaluation of the first 3 months of operation of an Australian mental health peer support service providing hospital avoidance and early discharge support to consumers of adult mental health services.  Key performance indicators such as bed days saved, crisis service contact, ED presentations, and readmission rates were gathered, along with feedback from various stakeholders including consumers, carers, mental health staff, GPs, and peer support workers via phone questionnaires and focus groups.  In the first 3 months of operation 49 support packages were provided with 300 bed days saved. Feedback from all stakeholders was overwhelmingly positive. Using peers to provide support to consumers at this stage of their recovery seems highly effective as an adjunct to mainstream mental health services. It has personal benefit to consumers and peers, substantial savings to systems, as well as much potential for encouraging mental health service culture and practice towards a greater recovery focus and improved collaboration with GPs.

Subject terms:
mental health problems, peer groups, self care, self-help groups, evaluation, peer support;
Content type:
Journal home page
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