Training of mental health peer support workers in a non-western high-income city: preliminary evaluation and experience

Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2014 May;60(3):211-8. doi: 10.1177/0020764013481427. Epub 2013 Mar 27.


Background and aims: Peer support workers are an emerging workforce within the mental health system in Hong Kong. The purposes of this paper were to describe the development of a peer support training programme and to evaluate its outcome from the perspectives of both trainees and the users of services that they provided.

Method: The curriculum consisted of six weeks of coursework on the recovery approach and a 24-week paid internship at the Warmline telephone service. We gathered feedback from 22 Warmline users. Eighteen trainees were also assessed using the three recovery-related psychosocial measures and qualitative methods.

Results: The Warmline service provided by peer support trainees lessened the isolation of service users and raised their hopes. Compared to the baseline, the peer support trainees scored marginally higher on the psychosocial measures at the end of the training. At post-training evaluation, peer support trainees said that they had gained in knowledge, were more hopeful about their own recovery, and had developed mutually supportive relationships among themselves and with their supervisors.

Conclusion: The programme shows potential benefits for both Warmline service users and trainees. Future studies should compare different training methods and examine the implementation of peer support services in a non-western cultural context.

Keywords: Recovery approach; Warmline service; peer mentoring; peer-run.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Hong Kong
  • Hotlines / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Mental Health Services / standards*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data
  • Peer Group*
  • Program Evaluation / methods*
  • Social Support*
  • Urban Health Services / standards