Article

Military veteran engagement with mental health and well-being services: a qualitative study of the role of the peer support worker

Details

Citation

Weir B, Cunningham M, Abraham L & Allanson-Oddy C (2018) Military veteran engagement with mental health and well-being services: a qualitative study of the role of the peer support worker. Journal of Mental Health, 28 (6), pp. 647-653. https://doi.org/10.1080/09638237.2017.1370640

Abstract
Background: Many UK military veterans experiencing mental health and well-being difficulties do not engage with support services to get the help they need. Some mental health clinics employ Peer Support Workers (PSWs) to help veteran patients engage, however it is not known how the role influences UK veteran engagement. Aims: To gain insight into the role of peer support in UK veteran engagement with mental health and well-being services. Method: A qualitative study based on 18 semi-structured interviews with veterans, PSWs and mental health clinicians at a specialist veteran mental health and well-being clinic in Scotland. Results: Four themes of the PSW role as positive first impression, understanding professional friend, helpful and supportive connector, and an open door were identified across all participants. The PSWs’ military connection, social and well-being support and role in providing veterans with an easily accessible route to dis-engage and re-engage with the service over multiple engagement attempts were particularly crucial. Conclusions: The Peer Support role enhanced veteran engagement in the majority of instances. Study findings mirrored existing peer support literature, provided new evidence in relation to engaging UK veterans, and made recommendations for future veteran research and service provision.

Keywords
Peer support; peer support worker; military veteran; engagement; mental health;qualitative

Journal
Journal of Mental Health: Volume 28, Issue 6

StatusPublished
Publication date31/12/2018
Publication date online30/08/2017
Date accepted by journal19/06/2017
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/25946
PublisherTaylor and Francis
ISSN0963-8237
eISSN1360-0567

People (1)

People

Dr Margaret Cunningham
Dr Margaret Cunningham

Research Fellow