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4. Non-Pharmacological Interventions

4.7 Peer Support Workers

Clinical Questions

Is there a role for peer support workers?

Summary of narrative review evidence

The use of peer support workers has a long history within the mental health system having been utilised since the 18th Century (Kilpatrick, Keeney, & McCauley, 2017). There has recently been a resurgence in the use of peer support workers in mental health settings generally, and there are an increasing number of studies supporting their role.

These have been translated into policies, position statements, such as the position statement by Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, 2021) and growth in the number and development of peer support worker roles throughout the mental health sector. There is, however, little to no information about the effectiveness of peer support workers for people with ADHD.

A peer support worker is a person who draws on personal and shared experience of mental health challenges to support others with similar challenges (Kilpatrick et al., 2017; Rooney, Miles, & Barker, 2016). Peer support workers have personal experience of recovering from mental health challenges and are trained and employed to support the recovery of others (Bradstreet & Pratt, 2010).

The value of peer support work has gained international recognition including within the World Health Organisation’s mental health action plan which proposes that peer support work is a ‘core service requirement’ (Kilpatrick et al., 2017). There are considerable benefits to subgroup populations by including peer support workers in a health system strategy.


Currently, there is insufficient research on peer support for people with ADHD to warrant any specific recommendations in this guideline.

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