ABSTRACT: Peer-led education interventions have the potential to provide mental health consumers with the knowledge, skills and support they need to live successful and rewarding self-determined lives. However, few studies have explored whether and how these interventions enhance recovery. This study addresses this knowledge gap by examining changes among 160 participants in the Building Recovery of Individual Dreams and Goals (BRIDGES) education program. BRIDGES is a peer-led 8-week course taught by trained instructors who publicly disclose the fact that they are in recovery from mental illness.
Structured interviews assessing recovery outcomes were conducted with participants in the month prior to their receipt of BRIDGES, and immediately after receipt of the intervention. Paired t-tests were conducted to examine changes in psychiatric symptoms, hopefulness, social support, self-advocacy, empowerment, adaptive coping, and recovery pre-receipt and post-receipt of BRIDGES.
Post-receipt of BRIDGES, participants reported significantly fewer psychiatric symptoms, decreased use of maladaptive coping behaviors, and increased feelings of hopefulness, self-advocacy, empowerment, and recovery.
These promising early results from our ongoing study of BRIDGES suggest that peer-led education interventions are a valuable resource. Additional research is needed to better understand the effectiveness of these interventions, including potential long-term post-program participation benefits.
Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal 01/2010; 34(2):96-103. · 0.75 Impact Factor