Gaining acceptance: Discourses on training and qualifications in peer support
The debate relating to formal qualifications for peer support in mental health reflects conflicting ideas about the nature of this new occupation. Three discourses among peer supporters/peer support managers in New Zealand are identified in relation to training and qualifications. The health professionalism discourse sees peer support as a set of tools which can be developed through education and training. The grassroots discourse holds onto the non-hierarchical, nonprofessional and inclusive nature of peer support as a form of relational ‘common sense’. The transformational peer support discourse sees peer support training as potentially instigating radical revisioning within one’s life journey. While seeing peer support training as crucial, its proponents are circumspect about formal qualifications in mental health. This article identifies these three discourses, discusses them in relation to the development of peer support as a new occupation, and draws a comparison with the professionalisation of counselling in the 20th century.
- Arts: Journal Articles