“It felt good to give something back”: A Thematic Analysis of supporters’ experiences of Peer to Peer Family member support.

Poster C24, Wednesday, October 10, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Essex Ballroom

Peter Gallagher1,2, Adele Kane1,3, Mary Kelleher4, Felicity Fanning1, Patrick Egan1, Mary Clarke1,3,5,6; 1DETECT Early Intervention in Psychosis Service, Blackrock, Dublin, Ireland., 2Saint John of God Hospitaller Ministries, Dublin, Ireland, 3Saint John of God Community Services, Dublin, Ireland., 4Health Service Executive, Dublin North, Ireland., 5University College Dublin, Ireland., 6Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland.

DETECT is an early intervention in Psychosis service in Ireland covering a urban population of approximately 375,000.The DETECT Information and Support Course (DISC) is a psycho-education intervention designed for family members of people recently diagnosed with a first episode psychosis, running since 2006. An innovative family Peer support programme was set up in 2015. Peer support is offered to family members who have recently completed DISC who can meet and talk with a trained volunteer (a peer supporter) who has had a similar experience in the past. The programme was designed and developed in conjunction with a multi-stakeholder advisory group, initiated following feedback from family members including service users, family members. Training in Motivational Interviewing techniques and self-care was delivered to the supporters and all were police vetted. Methodology; This study employed a Thematic Analysis qualitative methodology to explore the effectiveness of the program and the experiences of participants. Following a period of supporting 15 families, interviews were conducted with 7 peer supporters. Findings; The data revealed themes of: “It felt good to give something back “, ‘helped me understand my own experiences’ and “would have grabbed it with both hands” had the support been available when my relative was ill. Discussion; In addition to helping families, providing peer support allows peers to continue their journey of recovery cognisance. The reciprocal nature of the relationship facilitates personal growth, increases self-esteem and sense of empowerment for the family peer worker. As a result relationships with family members can often improve.

Topic Area: Psychosocial Interventions

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