Peer-Provided Behavioral Health Services Proven Effective:
Alaska Mental Health Board/Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse - January 2007
-SOA DBH recognizes peer-provided services as a developing Best Practice. The Alaska Department of Behavioral Health endorses the Evidence Based Practices established to date by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA). These practices include the Illness Management and Recovery program. Alaska now has two peer-operated groups that are successfully implementing this program: Ionia in Kasilof; and The Consumer Mental Health Web in Anchorage. These peer-provided groups promote wellness self-management techniques. With each other?s help, mental health consumers help themselves manage their own mental health, reduce symptoms and relapses, and minimize the adverse effects of psychiatric illness on their social roles. -Research has proved the effectiveness of peer provided services. Consumer-operated programs such as drop-in centers, case management programs, outreach programs, businesses, employment and housing programs, and crisis services are a growing part of the behavioral health consumer movement. Research conducted by the SAMHSA shows that consumers are satisfied with peer provided services and that programs met their objectives - people participate in peer provided services because they work.
-Peer provided services prevent re-hospitalization. An evaluation of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) Peer Bridger Project found that re-hospitalization rates during a two year period decreased from 60% to 19%, an improvement of 41% for individuals who were recipients of peer provided case management services. The study examined benefits of peer services including temporary relief from social isolation often experienced by people who are hospitalized and the ability to share with each other wisdom and survival skills necessary for the process of recovery. -Peer provided services foster independence. 70% of self-help groups report their members stay out of the hospital, hold a job and are living more independently and assuming more responsibility. (Rosenthal, H., Testimony Regarding the Results of the Research Study of the New York City Involuntary Outpatient Commitment Pilot Program, December 16, 1998). -Peer provided services are cost-effective. Clifford Thurston, one of a growing number of consumers nationwide who is working for a managed care organization, has made the following statement about drop in centers: "The bottom line is that these programs are being funded because they're cost-effective. They reduce hospitalizations and get people back to work.? (Technical Assistance Guide on Consumer-run Drop-in Centers, National Mental Health Consumers? Self-Help Clearinghouse).
-The State of Alaska should support peer provided services with GF/MH dollars