Recently, there has been a great expansion in the development of peer support services for adults with mental illnesses. Peer support is a promising new resource for people facing the challenge of living with a mental illness. This is especially important in pertinent to psychiatric hospitalizations as it has been observed that people with recurring admissions to psychiatric inpatient services have had problems engaging with mental health support services.
A study was conducted to determine if peer support could potentially reduce multiple re-admissions to inpatient facilities. It was hypothesized that people with serious mental illnesses and recent history of recurrent hospitalizations who were given a peer mentor after discharge would have fewer hospital days and subsequent hospitalizations. The results showed that the implementation of peer support reduced hospital admissions and hospital days compared to those who were not assigned a peer mentor.
Peer support has shown to have long term helpful effects on those dealing with mental illnesses. It is especially helpful in the recovery stage, as shown by the reduction of psychiatric hospitalizations. One reason this may be is that support systems are crucial to any sort of recovery, including mental illness. If individuals don’t have a proper support system, it is more likely for them to relapse or have their condition worsen. Even if people do have a strong support system, peer support can still benefit them, especially if those in their support system have not endured the same struggles, themselves.
Another way in which peer support aids in recovery is by peers acting as role models. Some of the time, the peers themselves have gone through what the person who needs help with has and can act as role models. With peers connecting on this empathetic level individuals see someone who faced similar problems to them and realize that they are capable of becoming better themselves. TAD is remaining active in helping facilitate peer support in our developing crisis help tool. Our tools and resources are highly focused on peer-to-peer connection. Learn more here.
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