Peer support in mental health care: is it good value for money?

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Marija Trachtenberg, Michael Parsonage, Geoff Shepherd & Jed Boardman

5 June 2013

Peer support workers - people with their own lived experience of mental illness - provide mutually supportive relationships in secondary mental health services. Increasing numbers are being employed, both in this country and elsewhere. 

This paper makes a first attempt at assessing whether peer support provides value for money, looking specifically at whether peer support workers can reduce psychiatric inpatient bed use. Because of the very high cost of inpatient care, the savings that result from even small changes in bed use may be sufficient to outweigh the costs of employing peer workers.

Audience: Commissioners, mental health services, practitioners.

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