Peer Support: Research and Reports | Mental Health America

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Peer Support: Research and Reports

Peer support has existed in behavioral health for decades. Its rapid growth in recent years is for good reason. Research and experience show that peer support specialists have a transformative effect on both individuals and systems. Peer support has been shown to:

  • Improve quality of life,
  • Improve engagement and satisfaction with services and supports,
  • Improve whole health, including chronic conditions like diabetes,
  • Decrease hospitalizations and inpatient days, and
  • Reduce the overall cost of services

Peer support empowers people to make the best decisions for them and to strive towards their goals in their communities. Peers are an essential component of recovery-focused systems and are key across settings and stages of recovery.

New research in peer support:

  • A survey of 319 certified peer specialists in Michigan found that, while most were satisfied with their workplaces, the majority report low pay with limited career growth. (Psychiatric Services; October 2018). [FULL ABSTRACT]
  • A study followed 401 individuals who used peer-staffed crisis respite centers compared to 1,796 who did not. Results showed that over a year-long period those who utilized peer-run crisis respites has 2.9 fewer hospitalizations and saved an average of $2,138 per Medicaid-enrolled month in Medicaid expenditures. (Psychiatric Services; August 2018). [FULL ABSTRACT]
  • A study from the UK found that individuals given a workbook about recovery along with ten sessions of peer support were less likely to be hospitalized compared to those given a workbook without peer support. (The Lancet; August 2018). [FULL ABSTRACT]

Click on the topics below to check out reports and research.


Workforce and integration

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