A multi-national peer support intervention: the UPSIDES pilot phase

Rebecca Nixdorf, Lena Nugent, Rabeea’h Aslam, Sarah Barber, Ashleigh Charles, Lion Gai Meir, Alina Grayzman, Ramona Hiltensperger, Jasmine Kalha, Palak Korde, Rachel Mtei, Jackie Niwemuhwezi, Mary Ramesh, Grace Ryan, Mike Slade, Lisa Wenzel, Candelaria Mahlke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: Using Peer Support in Developing Empowering Mental Health Services (UPSIDES) is evaluating implementation of a peer support worker (PSW) intervention at six recruiting sites (Germany, India, Israel, Tanzania, and Uganda) (ISRCTN26008944). The aim of this study is to evaluate the pre-trial pilot phase. Method: The initial training to prepare individuals for the PSW role and the implementation of the peer support (PS) intervention was evaluated using a multi-method design comprising six focus groups (FG; n = 22) and questionnaires capturing the perspectives of service users, PSWs, peer trainers, and mental health staff members (n = 21). Results: Findings were organised across eleven key implementation themes: organisational culture, PSW training, PSW role definition, staff willingness and ability to work with PSWs, resource availability, financial arrangements, support for PSW well-being, PSW access to a peer network, acceptance, preparation, and other challenges. Discussion: The following recommendations are made, based on this pilot phase: the PS training should train on practical skills using role-playing exercises; PSWs should work in teams, including role reflection with colleagues (intervision) or with a highly experienced coach (supervision); necessary resources and tools for networking should be provided; and continuous awareness-raising about PS is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-14
Number of pages13
JournalAdvances in Mental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Peer support
  • empowerment
  • global mental health
  • implementation
  • pilot phase
  • recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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