Accelerating Best Practices in Peer Support Around the World



Peer Support in Primary Care – Mental Health Integration

New Initiative Aims to Improve Veterans Health and Care Delivery

Integrating mental health services and primary care has long been seen as a key step to achieve better health outcomes. Nowhere is the need for integrated care more urgent than among America’s veterans, who often face complex physical and mental health conditions. Roughly one in three Veterans Health Administration (VA) primary care patients have mental health comorbidities. However, despite the widespread support for integrated care, actual translation into common practice has been challenging. To accelerate this process, several offices in the VA have joined forces to implement a model that deploys peer specialists at the crossroads of mental health and primary care.

Peer specialists are veterans who have been trained to use their lived experience of mental health and/or substance abuse to engage other veterans, provide support, and guide them through their treatment. Peer specialists provide a different form…


Institute of Medicine Discussion Paper on Community Health Workers, Part 2

Clayton Velicer, MPH

In part 1 of this blog we highlighted several policy developments for Community Health Workers (CHWs) and looked at some of the challenges facing the CHW workforce as outlined in the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) recent discussion paper.

The IOM made 4 recommendations for the future of the CHW workforce (Note: these were written for California but are relevant to other states). In this blog, we’ll look at those recommendations and discuss their current status.
1) “Implement statewide infrastructure for CHW scope of practice, training, and certification that covers the role of CHWs in providing team-based primary care”
The IOM recommends assessing and defining the professional and practical skills of each member of the primary care team. The idea is that health care practices can maximize cost-effectiveness, quality, and outcomes if every member of the team operates at the top of their licensure and skills.

Defining a common scope of practice for CHWs…


Relationship Styles to Enhance Mental Health Peer Support

Jewels Rhode, MPH student

Research has shown that the development of meaningful relationships is an essential part of the mental health recovery process regardless of any specific therapy type or approach. This short guide was created for peer supporters to help them develop better relationships with those they support by appreciating their relationship styles. [Download the PDF version] Importance of Understanding Relationship Styles
Relationship styles are typical patterns of expectations, needs, emotions, and behaviors in social interactions. They can be categorized as Insecure (Anxious, Avoidant), or Secure.

Each of these relationship styles dictates different modes of behavior, some of which may present challenges when helping your peer.

Most people with mental illness demonstrate insecure relationship styles due to lack of security during times of distress in childhood, which lessened resilience during stressful times and caused emotional issues and poor adjustment….

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