Peer Support

Published March 2019

The Psychiatric Services Editor’s Choice provides essential curated collections from recent issues of Psychiatric Services.  Each month, Editor Lisa Dixon and the Early Career Psychiatrist Advisory Committee offer a curated collection from the rich resource of articles published in the journal. Updates will focus on one area, summarizing for the researcher, clinician, and policy analyst the latest information and seminal research with links to specific content from Psychiatric Services.

Peer support services, a primary component of a recovery-based model of care, are services in which individuals with lived experience of mental illness aid others in their recovery (Chinman et al., 2017). Peer support services are provided across a variety of settings and include a wide range of work activities, such as education, mentoring, case management, research support, and vocational support (Hendrix-Brown & Bourdeau, 2019; Lapidos et al., 2018; Becker, 2015; Salzer et al., 2010). In 2001, states began developing certification programs for peer support specialists, and starting in 2007, Medicaid began to reimburse for peer support services (Wolf, 2018). As of 2016, all but three states had or were creating peer support certification programs, and across the country there were 25,317 certified peer support specialists (Wolf, 2018). This collection provides an overview of current research pertaining to peer support services, including descriptions of various forms of peer work and its impact on peer support workers, intervention evaluations, systematic reviews of the evidence base, and an Open Forum that provides the groundwork for creating a further research agenda on peer support work.

Please note that not all articles in this curated collection are available without a subscription. For access, learn about subscribing to Psychiatric Services.


Description of Peer Services and Impact on Peer Support Workers

Creating the Conditions for Successful Integration of Peer Support Specialists Into Research Studies
Regina M. Hendrix-Brown, M.A., and Gary R. Bourdeau
Ahead of Print

Survey of Peer Support Specialists: Professional Activities, Self-Rated Skills, Job Satisfaction, and Financial Well-being
Adrienne Lapidos, Ph.D., Jennie Jester, Ph.D., Monica Ortquist, C.P.S.S., Pamela Werner, M.A., L.L.P., Mary C. Ruffolo, Ph.D., M.S.W., Matthew Smith, Ph.D., M.S.W.
Volume 69, Issue 12, pp. 1264-1267

National Trends in Peer Specialist Certification
Jessica Wolf, Ph.D.
Volume 69, Issue 10, pp. 1049-1049

Defining Peer Roles and Status Among Community Health Workers and Peer Support Specialists in Integrated Systems of Care
Allen S. Daniels, Ed.D., Sue Bergeson, Keris Jän Myrick, M.B.A., M.S.
Volume 68, Issue 12, pp. 1296-1298

Hiring Peers as Vocational Specialists
Deborah R. Becker, M.Ed.
Volume 66, Issue 4, pp. 337-337

Mental Health and Quality of Life Among Veterans Employed as Peer and Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists
Susan V. Eisen , Ph.D., Lisa N. Mueller , Ph.D., Bei Hung Chang , Ph.D., Sandra G. Resnick , Ph.D., Mark R. Schultz , Ph.D., Jack A. Clark , Ph.D.
Volume 66, Issue 4, pp. 381-388

Leadership and Characteristics of Nonprofit Mental Health Peer-Run Organizations Nationwide
Laysha Ostrow, Ph.D., M.P.P., and Stephania L. Hayes, M.A., O.T.R.
Volume 66, Issue 4, pp. 421-425

Personal and Societal Benefits of Providing Peer Support: A Survey of Peer Support Specialists
Gene Johnson, M.S.W., Chris Magee, B.S., Mihoko Maru, M.A., Kathleen Furlong-Norman, M.Ed., M.S.W., E. Sally Rogers, Sc.D., and Kenneth Thompson, M.D.
Volume 65, Issue 5, pp. 678-680

Certified Peer Specialist Roles and Activities: Results From a National Survey
Mark S. Salzer, Ph.D., Edward Schwenk, B.A., C.P.S., Eugene Brusilovskiy, B.A.
Volume 61, Issue 5, pp. 520-523


Intervention Evaluations

The Effectiveness of a Peer-Staffed Crisis Respite Program as an Alternative to Hospitalization
Ellen E. Bouchery, M.S., Michael Barna, M.A., Elizabeth Babalola, M.P.H., Daniel Friend, M.S., Jonathan D. Brown, Ph.D., Crystal Blyler, Ph.D., Henry T. Ireys, Ph.D.
Volume 69, Issue 10, pp. 1069-1074

Peer-Led Self-Management of General Medical Conditions for Patients With Serious Mental Illnesses: A Randomized Trial
Benjamin G. Druss, M.D., M.P.H., Manasvini Singh, M.S.P.H., Silke A. von Esenwein, Ph.D., Gretl E. Glick, M.P.H., Stephanie Tapscott, M.S.W., Sherry Jenkins Tucker, M.A., Cathy A. Lally, M.S.P.H., Evelina W. Sterling, Ph.D.
Volume 69, Issue 5, pp. 529-535

Outcomes of a Peer Mentor Intervention for Persons With Recurrent Psychiatric Hospitalization
Maria J. O’Connell, Ph.D., William H. Sledge, M.D., Martha Staeheli, Ph.D., David Sells, Ph.D., Mark Costa, M.D., M.P.H., Melissa Wieland, Ph.D., Larry Davidson, Ph.D.
Volume 69, Issue 7, pp. 760-767

Augmenting Ongoing Depression Care With a Mutual Peer Support Intervention Versus Self-Help Materials Alone: A Randomized Trial
Marcia Valenstein, M.D., M.S., Paul N. Pfeiffer, M.D., Samantha Brandfon, L.M.S.W., Heather Walters, M.S., Dara Ganoczy, M.P.H., Hyungjin Myra Kim, Sc.D., Jay L. Cohen, Ph.D., Winnetha Benn-Burton, Ph.D., Elaine Carroll, M.D., Jennifer Henry, L.M.S.W., Elizabeth Garcia, B.A., Brittany Risk, L.M.S.W., Helen C. Kales, M.D., John D. Piette, Ph.D., Michele Heisler, M.D.
Volume 67, Issue 2, pp. 236-239

Impact of Consumer-Operated Services on Empowerment and Recovery of People With Psychiatric Disabilities
Patrick W. Corrigan, Psy.D.
Volume 57, Issue 10, pp. 1493-1496


Systematic Reviews

A Systematic Review of the Attributes and Outcomes of Peer Work and Guidelines for Reporting Studies of Peer Interventions
Alicia Jean King, B.Occ.Thy., and Magenta Bender Simmons, Ph.D.
Volume 69, Issue 9, pp. 961-977

Peer Recovery Support for Individuals With Substance Use Disorders: Assessing the Evidence
Sharon Reif, Ph.D., Lisa Braude, Ph.D., D. Russell Lyman, Ph.D., Richard H. Dougherty, Ph.D., Allen S. Daniels, Ed.D., Sushmita Shoma Ghose, Ph.D., Onaje Salim, Ed.D., L.P.C., and Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D.
Volume 65, Issue 7, pp. 853-861


Creating a Research Agenda

Establishing a Research Agenda for Understanding the Role and Impact of Mental Health Peer Specialists
Matthew Chinman, Ph.D., D. Keith McInnes, Sc.D., M.Sc., Susan Eisen, Ph.D., Marsha Ellison, Ph.D., Marianne Farkas, Sc.D., Moe Armstrong, M.B.A., M.A., Sandra G. Resnick, Ph.D.
Volume 68, Issue 9, pp. 955-957

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