Integrating mental health peer support in clinical settings: Lessons from Canada and Norway

Healthc Manage Forum. 2019 Mar;32(2):68-72. doi: 10.1177/0840470418812495. Epub 2019 Feb 11.


Mental health peer support is an evidence-based approach called for by Canada's mental health strategy that presents health leaders with an opportunity to transform mental health service experiences, improve health outcomes, and lower overall system costs. Originally offered in community settings, peer support has been expanding to clinical settings, but challenges to integration exist. This qualitative case study of peer support in clinical settings in Canada and Norway examines the perceived value of peer support and change management strategies that health leaders, managers, staff, and peer support providers can use to support integration of peer support in existing healthcare teams in clinical settings. Recommended strategies for health leaders include adopting a gradual approach to integration, building champions, demonstrating value, focusing on resistant groups, adopting a continuous improvement approach, setting peer support as an organizational priority, and linking peer support to patient-centred care.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Humans
  • Leadership
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Models, Organizational
  • Norway
  • Peer Group*
  • Social Support*