EScAPe – evaluation of relational peer work

EScAPe – evaluation of relational peer work

Investigator: Professor Andrew Chanen


One in five young people who come to youth mental health services experience a borderline or severe personality disorder.

Borderline or severe personality disorder are terms used to describe symptoms that occur over a number of years, may be upsetting, and can affect many areas of life, (such as friendships, work, study, housing). Symptoms include strong and unstable emotions, problems with self-image, and intense and stormy relationships. There are many treatments available to help young people with personality disorder.

What does the study involve?

This study aims to test whether relational peer work is safe, practical, and helpful for young people who experience borderline or severe personality disorder.

Relational peer work is a treatment that involves one-to-one sessions with a peer worker. A peer worker is a young person who has lived experience of having, and recovering from, mental health challenges, who has received training in peer work.

There are three components:

  1. All participants will complete online questionnaires to help researchers check whether our study and treatment is the right match for their experiences – that is, whether they are eligible for the study.
  2. Eligible participants will receive 10 weekly face-to-face sessions with a peer worker, in person or via video chat.
  3. All eligible participants will complete follow-up questionnaires.

Participants will receive $50 after completing each set of questionnaires (this could be up to a total of $150 for eligible participants).


Young people aged 12-25 who are new clients at headspace Craigieburn, headspace Glenroy, headspace Melton, headspace Sunshine and headspace Werribee can take part.

To register for the study or to ask any questions please visit, call Nathan Pham on 0473 300 533, or email [email protected].

SEP v1 061221 HREC 22831