Comments by David Hidajattoellah

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  • I am from the Netherlands. I recognize what you describe.In the Netherlands the trend is similar to what you describe.

    The last 5 to 7 years more CPS training programmes have been developed by mental health care professionals. These programmes are based on what mental heatlth workers learn when they are educated. The peer workers are involved in the process of developing the programme but these peer workers are invloved as they have protoprofessionalized. Oftentimes they start training the peer workers without any knowledge of teaching. Furthermore they are given positions in commmittees, boards, and similar things so as to make them feel important. In other words feeding the ego gratification of these peer workers.

    The peer workers do sometimes follow some course so as to get started but the training is limited and often lacks educational quality. Examples of this are that in most cases there is no assessment whatsoever. It is often just a matter of attending ten to twelve lessons and then you passed the course.

    The mental health care institutes had to deal with many scandals and scandals continu to be made public. The general public has little faith and trust in these institutions therefore they try to attract peer workers which are often not trained as peer worker or not very critical, and not critical thinkers. They often find it more important to have a job, better financial position, being friends with your colleagues, avoid conflicts, value status, value their financial freedom, are not critical to current abuses at work, do not report abuses by non-peers from work. They also want to learn more and more about psychopathology, DSM and other medical model thinking.

    In effect this has led to them being protoprofessionalized but they are no longer able to see this. They have been using the words and the jargon in the medical model for so long without being actively critical just to conform to their non-peers that they have lost touh with why they started working as a peer worker to begin with.

    These peer workers have become the role models the mental health organizations want to praise for being good at their job. As a result the peer workers start endorsing their non-peers. This process of endorsement is what mental health institutes want. They wan the endorsement so as to be in the good graces of the public and the politicians. They are making a statement “Look at how many peers we employ and what excellent recovery based care we provide”.

    For a book I am writing about peer support (education) worldwide I reviewed and looked into the developments and trends and realized that many countries have the same problems which exist in the Netherlands. I think peer workers should be prepared better for the working conditions they encounter when they start working as a peer worker. So far I have heard from peer workers and peer work researchers in many countries that the mental health institutes are trying to conform the peer workers into regular mental health care professionals. So far I have only seen a few examples of countries where peer workers have become critical thinkers and real change agents.

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