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Evaluation work

The Peer Support Training Team and the Evaluation Unit Team at the Institute of Mental Health have joined forces to offer co-produced evaluations to mental health projects across the UK.

The Evaluation Team draw on their years of experience in evaluation and use their ability to undertake robust quantitative analysis to complement the approach of the peer support training. The peer support trainers have a broad experience of evaluating mental health focussed projects using predominantly qualitative methods. They use the values of recovery and their experiences of working with mental health services to inform their strengths-based, supportive approach to evaluation. The peer trainers also bring their lived experience to understand complex situations from the perspectives of staff members, service users and carers. The use of lived experience in research design and implementation has been shown to produce outcomes which are more relevant and helpful.

 

This collaborative approach offers organisations the opportunity to evaluate their current projects using a range of approaches providing them with a constructive overall picture of their stages of change. Ultimately, co-produced evaluation reports will offer insights grounded in robust research approaches and informed by a deep understanding of the issues surrounding mental health and implementing recovery focussed change.

Most recently, the teams have co-produced an evaluation of peer support working in Imagine Mental Health services in Liverpool. This evaluation comprised both qualitative and quantitative approaches, including activity databases, quality of life measures, focus groups and one-to-one interviews with peer support workers. The peer support training team were able to use their comprehensive understanding of peer support to facilitate focus groups and interviews which, combined with quantitative approaches have provided Imagine with a thorough understanding of the challenges and benefits of peer support in their
organisation

Potential areas for evaluation:

  • Peer support implementation
  • Organisational attitudes toward specific projects
  • Projects which implement change within mental health, housing or support services