Background: Lived experience practitioners can contribute to improved outcomes for people with mental illness, supplementing traditional mental health services and reducing health care costs. However, lived experience practitioners frequently face stigma and discrimination within their work roles. Aim: To understand the impact of stigma and discrimination on the effectiveness of lived experience roles from the perspective of lived experience practitioners. Method: In-depth interviews were conducted with 13 lived experience practitioners within a grounded theory study. Results: Issues of stigma and discrimination were identified as a core category of this study. Participants described stigma and discrimination so prevalent as to be considered a “normal” part of their working life. Professional isolation and attitudinal barriers from colleagues were seen to inhibit the effectiveness of lived experience roles. Conclusions: Lived experience practitioners can provide a vital contribution to stigma reduction broadly, however, the stigma and discrimination they face within work roles must be addressed to allow this contribution to be effective.
- lived experience practitioners
- mental health services
- peer work