Hope in Psychiatry: Involving Peer Workers in Research about Peer Support

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Abstract

Background: We have recently introduced a new research program with the overall aim of including peer workers as active co-researchers in research about peer support. With this program, we aim to examine topics related to facilitating consumer recovery and developing recovery-oriented mental health services to better understand mechanisms of change from the peer worker perspective.
In the first study, we explore hope. Hope is a concept that consistently appears across the recovery literature, and peer workers are expected to both hold and facilitate hope for each consumers recovery based on their own unique experiential expertise of finding and maintaining hope. However, no studies have examined peer workers lived experience of hope. By exploring how peer workers find and maintain hope, we can enhance our understanding of how they are able to grow it in others.
Methods: Using the participatory action research methodology photovoice, six peer workers took photographs to answer the question “Where does hope come from and what makes you feel hopeful in your everyday life?” First, each photograph was co-analyzed for shared experiences. After this, each peer worker was asked to share a story about one of their photographs and relate the photograph to their lived experience of finding and maintaining hope.
Results: The peer workers were highly engaged in the project and its methodology, and photographs presented a diverse array of experiences. The most common experiences related to nature, spirituality and religion, life achievements, and receiving and providing support. During the process of co-analysis and sharing stories, it became apparent, however, that some stories of finding and maintaining hope resonated more clearly with their own, while other stories did not. This finding emerged as an important discussion point, when reflecting on their roles of holding and facilitating hope for consumers.
Original languageDanish
Publication date11. Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - 11. Jan 2024

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