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How Peer Workers Are Advancing Mental Health Research

November 7 2020 - Ongoing research is critical to providing good mental health support. While mental health knowledge, studies, and treatments have certainly advanced a lot in recent years, there is still a lot more work that can be done in order to find out more about the common mental health problems that people face today and what works best to overcome and manage them successfully. Along with providing a platform that people can use when they need ongoing support and somebody to talk to, peer support for mental health is supporting research in this field. Hereís how:

Data Collection

With the permission of service users, peer support work may be used to collect data about mental health problems and common management strategies, which can then be used in research. Peer support users can opt into taking surveys and questionnaires about their mental health and how it affects their day to day lives anonymously while using the service, providing information that can be passed on to researchers.

Spot Common Trends

Thanks to Hushley, a peer support app set to launch in December of this year, peer support can be used to spot common trends in mental health. All Hushley chats between a user and a peer support specialist are monitored by psychologists, who can then anonymously use this information in their research and use it to determine factors such as which mental health problems tend to be most prevalent, which coping strategies tend to work best, and common reasons why people struggle to get help or end up reaching out for support.

If you want to contribute to mental health research while helping others at the same time, a peer support job might be ideal for you. Consider becoming a peer support specialist with Hushley. You can choose your own hours and work from home anonymously using your smartphone. Learn more about what they do by watching this YouTube video.

Find Study Participants

Scientific studies are often necessary in every area of healthcare in order to test new treatments or determine whether certain factors correlate with recovery more than others. Peer support provides a platform where researchers can often find suitable study participants and advertise studies that they might be interested in taking part in. Many researchers work alongside peers to find individuals that meet certain criteria and are willing to give up some of their time to help find new answers in mental health.

Understand Differences

Users reach out to peer support services for a variety of different reasons, which can help researchers get a better understanding of the differences between people when it comes to mental health. Mental health is very unique and one personís experience with anxiety, for example, might be totally different from the next. By monitoring conversations with peers, psychologists can gain a deeper understanding of how people differ when it comes to root causes, strategies that work, recovery times, and many other factors.

With mental health losing its stigma and many people beginning to understand the importance of looking after their psychology, good mental health research is needed now more than ever.

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