Abstract | Abstract
Worldwide, there is an increasing interest in employing citizens with lived experience of mental health challenges. They enter mental health services as peer support workers (PSWs). Their objective is twofold – to ensure service users’ involvement in service production and bring a service user perspective to service development. PSWs’ engagement in mental health services has both a moral and a pragmatic intention. Including those whose work is planned for (or PSWs) is generally portrayed as fulfilling a societal and moral obligation. When those affected are included, outputs (such as service provision) will be more effective. This conceptual paper discusses the conditions in which PSWs can inform new practice generation and promote innovative mental health services. Theoretical perspectives from public sector innovation studies illustrate how PSWs may play an essential role in co-designing new and improved services and engage as partners in shaping and co-creating service priorities.