Michael John Norton – Peer Support Worker

  • Michael John Norton is a PhD student and Peer Support Worker for the Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary mental health services. He has spent the last few years being an advocate for mental health within the CHO5 catchment area through his involvement in local consumer panels, involvement centres and ARI groups.

     

    Title: The Professionalization of the Peer Supporter Role in Ireland: Historical Analysis and Future Developments.

    Presentation: Peer support has been defined as a naturally occurring, spontaneous and voluntary phenomenon that incorporates a process whereby one gives practical and emotional support based on lived experience and the experiential knowledge that is accumulated from such experiences (Norton In Press). Peer support as a concept, has long been an essential part of the recovery process for those who suffer from mental health and addiction issues (Barlow et al. 2010). However, recently in Ireland this informal support has transformed into a professionally paid role within the statutory mental health services. This presentation transports us back in time to identify the origins of peer support, how this informal support transformed into a professionally paid role and what lies ahead for peer support workers within an Irish context.