Early Outcomes and Lessons Learned from a Study of the Building Recovery of Individual Dreams and Goals through Education and Support (BRIDGES) Program in Tennessee

University of Illinois, Chicago, IL, USA.
Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal (Impact Factor: 1.16). 09/2010; 34(2):96-103. DOI: 10.2975/34.2.2010.96.103
Source: PubMed


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.

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    • "Several examples of widely implemented peerled programs have been documented. Building Recovery of Individual Dreams and Goals (BRIDGES; Pickett et al., 2010) " is an 8-week peer-led course designed to empower adults with psychiatric disabilities by providing them with basic education about the etiology and treatment of mental illness, self-help skills, and recovery principles " (p. 97). "
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    • "These empowering processes, in turn, enhance hope, self-esteem and self-confidence (Segal & Silverman 2002). Peer-led intervention provides a social learning environment for peers to learn practical skills for coping with, and managing, their condition (Pickett et al. 2010). The sharing of successful accounts enhances the peers' hope and belief in their own recovery and enables them to learn from each other's real-life application of coping and learnt skills. "
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    • "As described in detail elsewhere (Pickett et al. 2010), BRIDGES is an 8-week, manualized peer-led education course designed to empower adults with psychiatric disabilities and enhance their recovery. The curriculum was created by TMHCA and NAMI-Tennessee staff and volunteers , and is routinely reviewed by experts to ensure that current, accurate information is delivered. "
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