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Experience with introducing peer trainers into mental health education
Social Work Education  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-11-04, DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2021.1998425
Vlasta Řezníková, Martina Černá, Markéta Dubnová

ABSTRACT

People who have experienced mental health problems often encounter stigmatisation, mainly by professional mental health care providers. Therefore, involvement of experts by experience in courses taught at a higher education institution that provides training for future healthcare professionals aims at destigmatising mental illnesses. Peer trainers have a lived mental health problems experience who take on the role of trainers to present the latest mental health care trends and theories and introduce recovery elements into the educational process.

The data on which the article is based were gathered over a period of three years from focus groups involving 2nd year students of the bachelor’s degree programme of ‘Clinical Social Worker’. The results obtained clearly show the destigmatising effect of this type of teaching: what has proven to be crucial in this regard was, on the one hand, the experience of former patients, and on the other hand, a counterweight to the often-one-sided information prevalent in professional literature on mental health available in the Czech Republic. The teaching reinforced the students’ ability to work in a multidisciplinary team together with a peer support worker and also undermined any prejudice they may have had towards people with mental health problems.