Orygen has received funding to explore which peer support interventions help prevent, treat, or manage anxiety and depression in young people.
The funding has been awarded by the Wellcome Trust, a UK based global charitable foundation which supports science to solve urgent global health challenges.
Peer support sees people with lived experience of mental health challenges draw on that to promote recovery, empowerment and hope among others.
Dr Magenta Simmons, who leads research at Orygen focused on youth involvement, said peer support could have a positive impact on the treatment and outcomes of young people with mental ill-health.
“Peer support is a relatively new approach in youth mental health. It’s highly appealing for young people, has strong policy and service-level backing, and research has shown that peer support interventions can help young people engage with services and programs,” she said.
“However, there has been no review of what type of peer support works best for young people who experience anxiety and depression or in which contexts – for example, peer-led organisations compared to peer support that is integrated into clinical services.”
In analysing peer support interventions, Dr Simmons and her research team, Dr Ellie Brown and Mx Sarah Bostock, will be working with an international steering group of peer workers and young people with lived experience of mental health challenges.
“Lived experience is a core value of peer work so the involvement of young people with lived experience will be embedded throughout the project.
“We hope this will go a long way to improving the outcomes for young people who are living with anxiety and depression today and into the future.”