Chris Hansen

About Chris Hansen

Chris Hansen is Director of Intentional Peer Support – an organisation that has long promoted peer responses to mental distress, as a humane alternative to forced, coercive treatment.

Areas of interest

  • Human Rights
  • Peer Support
  • Social Change

More Info

Chris Hansen is the Director of Intentional Peer Support – a powerful framework that uses transformative relationships as an alternative to coercive and forced treatment.

Chris’s own experience of the mental health system in New Zealand – took her from being a manager of a community mental health team to becoming a patient. Her time on an inpatient ward, made her realise that the most powerful contributors to her recovery, were her fellow in-patients. After she was discharged from hospital, Chris put her energies into service user and survivor activism. She went on to work as an advisor to New Zealand mental health services, and was a member of the New Zealand delegation to the United Nations, developing the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

For the past 12 years, Chris has been promoting, developing and providing training in Intentional Peer Support. 

Chris says: “It’s a way of creating transformative and trusting relationships and is based on three principles:

  1. Learning versus Helping
  2. Relationship versus Individual
  3. Hope versus Fear

When we engage in peer support, we need to think differently about our traditional roles, and be prepared to enter uncertainty and mutual learning. As Shery Mead, IPS Founder, says:

“As peer support in mental health proliferates, we must be mindful of our intentions: social change. It is not about developing more effective services, but rather about creating dialogues that have influence on all our understandings, conversations and relationships.”

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