Accelerating Best Practices in Peer Support Around the World

Using Community Navigators to Help Individuals with Serious Mental Illnesses and Repeated Hospitalizations

Development, Implementation, and Preliminary Evaluation of a Recovery-Based Curriculum for Community Navigation Specialists Working with Individuals with Serious Mental Illnesses and Repeated Hospitalizations

Compton MT, Reed T, Broussard B, Powell I, Thomas GV, Moore A, Cito K, Haynes N

A recovery-oriented curriculum for training the Community Navigation Specialists (CNSs) of the new Opening Doors to Recovery in Southeast Georgia program was developed, implemented, and preliminarily evaluated. This new mental health program provides mobile, community-based support services to individuals with serious mental illnesses and a history of psychiatric inpatient recidivism (and commonly past incarcerations and homelessness). Teams of CNSs include a licensed social worker, a family member of an individual with a serious mental illness, and a peer specialist with lived experience.

In two courses held in February and June of 2011, 14 newly hired CNSs participated in the new training. A pre-training/post-training evaluation demonstrated statistically significant improvements in pertinent knowledge and self-efficacy for working in a community navigation role. As the recovery paradigm continues to be implemented in diverse real-world mental health treatment settings, recovery-based training curricula should be carefully constructed and evaluated.

Community Mental Health Journal; March 2013 [Full Abstract]

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