Recovery and peer support services are important emerging trends in mental health service delivery. Peer support providers typically are lay persons who counsel groups and individuals, provide mutual support (i.e. support provided by someone sharing similar experiences), act as role models and offer tangible assistance (i.e. help locating resources).
We collaborated with the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Boston University on two related studies to peer support for mental health conditions experienced by rural adults with disabilities. First, we surveyed Centers for Independent Living (CILs) to determine the level of training they provide for their peer support providers. Next, we conducted a naturalistic study of peer support services provided by CIL staff for reducing mental health symptoms. We trained CIL staff in centers located in rural parts of California, Kansas and Montana to provide peer services to individuals who were participants in a longitudinal survey on secondary mental health conditions (See Secondary Mental Health Conditions project in Health and Wellness).
Overall, individuals who presented for peer services were experiencing elevated levels of psychiatric symptoms. These elevated symptom levels returned to baseline over the intervention period suggesting the CIL peer support was instrumental in helping individuals stabilize symptoms.
- Project dates: 2008-2012
- Funded by: National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research Grant No. H133B080023
- Principal staff: Craig Ravesloot, Ph.D., Bob Liston, MA, Kevin Thorson
- Related projects:
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