The “peer bridger” model of peer support is when a certified peer specialist first meets with an individual while they are hospitalized for psychiatric treatment. The specialist develops a trusting relationship by using the skills they have acquired through training and experience. During the hospitalization, the individual and the specialist begin developing goals and a plan of action to overcome the barriers facing them upon discharge. The peer bridger continues to work with the person after their discharge by providing a combination of one-to-one peer support, advocacy, and connections to community resources. If desired by the individual, the peer bridger may work with the person’s family members to overcome barriers and/or strengthen their support. The person’s post-discharge action plan continues to evolve as the individual faces and overcomes barriers to recovery. There are similar models of peer support, including programs that begin during short-term crisis inpatient stays, which are increasingly being utilized.
To learn more, read the Assessment of Innovative Models of Peer Support Services in Behavioral Health to Reduce Preventable Acute Hospitalization and Readmissions.