Category Peer Support Services

Peer Support Receives Much Needed Recognition from Congress

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Congress gave mental health advocates a year-end present during the lame duck session by passing mental health reform legislation as part of the 21st Century Cures Act and sending it to President Obama for signature. Over the next three weeks CFYM will highlight key pieces of the legislation that benefit individuals living with mood disorders and their families.

In the August 2, 2016 CFYM post—as part of the shared decision making series—peer specialist Tom Lane explained how including peer support services delivered by a certified peer specialist can improve outcomes. Peer specialists serve as a member of the mental health care team and share their own experiences as a peer to develop trust with clients. According to Mr. Lane, “this enables the individual to divulge concerns, share desired outcomes from treatment, and acquire skills to approach the care team as an equal participant.” Further, Lane articulated that key to the peer-client relationship is a recognition and acceptance by the individual that the course of treatment is ultimately his/her choice.

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Why I’ve Chosen the Rewarding Profession of Certified Peer Specialist

Care For Your Mind wraps up the series on peer support services this week with a post from Olga Wuerz, a certified peer specialist, WOC (Without Compensation) who shares first-hand the value of including peer support services as an integral part of the mental health care delivery team at VA hospitals and centers.

Why I’ve Chosen the Rewarding Profession of Certified Peer Specialist
Olga Wuerz, Certified Peer Specialist, WOC and President of the Dallas VA Mental Health Veterans Advocacy Council

I started working on the Acute In-Patient unit at the Dallas VA Hospital about 8 years ago...

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Congressional Briefing Informs on the Value of Peer Support Services

“Peer support services work because we instill hope.” That’s the message from Olga Wuerz, an army veteran and certified peer specialist, during a congressional briefing held today by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA).

Echoing that message, DBSA president Allen Doederlein shared that by instilling hope through positive self-disclosure, peer support specialists can influence the path to recovery and wellness for individuals living with a mental health condition...

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Can Peer Support Services Improve Outcomes?

How to increase the visibility and availability of peer support services—an evidence-based practice—is an important topic during any discussion on mental health care reform. CFYM will be discussing this topic over the next few weeks. On Wednesday, April 29, look for a recap on a congressional briefing hosted by DBSA to educate congressional staffers on this critical component of mental health care.

Larry Davidson, Ph.D.
Director, Program for Recovery and Community Health
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine

Stories of frustration and sorrow from family members who w...

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My Three-Part Call-to-Action: How We Can Fix Our Mental Healthcare System

Allen Doederlein
President, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)

Photo Credit: The Hill

Last Thursday, February 26, I represented those with lived experiences at The Hill’s mental health briefing Fixing America’s Mental Healthcare System to an audience of nearly 100 leaders and activists in Washington, DC...

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Fixing Mental Health Services without Coercion

Harvey Rosenthal
Executive DirectorNew York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS)

In our final post on AOT Harvey Rosenthal explores the role of evidenced-based wraparound services in providing better mental health care outcomes.

Outpatient commitment typically involves mandating individuals to accept the same treatment approaches that have already failed or deterred them in the past. We know a lot more about how to help people in severe distress, but these methods are typically not offered or are not sufficiently available. These include a number of evidence based approaches like

  • Transitional Supports: using critical opportunities to engage people when leaving inpatient and detox facilities and prisons and jails
  • Individualized Care Management: organizing care across multiple behavioral and physical health and social systems that operates from shared information and offers real time response
  • Housing First and other harm- and homelessness-reduction models: offering individuals what they most need to be safe even if they’re not currently willing to take medications or stop using alcohol and drugs
  • Person-centered Planning Tools: utilizing Wellness Recovery Action Plans and Advance Directives
  • Criminal Justice Diversion and Re-entry Services: using court-based mental health workers, Crisis Intervention Teams, and better prison discharge plans and support services
  • Peer and Family Supports: incorporating peer crisis warm lines, respite houses, outreach, bridger and wellness coaching as well as family-to-family support
  • Employment and Education
  • Evidence-based Medicine: relying upon the latest research, providing more individualized care, and utilizing less drugs over a shorter period of time

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Reforming Mental Health Care Begins with Rethinking Provider Engagement

Harvey Rosenthal
Executive DirectorNew York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS)

Last week, Harvey Rosenthal shared why he believes the answers to improving mental health care for individuals with more serious conditions lie in bringing state of the art engagement, services, and supports to scale, as opposed to expanding civil commitment programs. In this post, Mr. Rosenthal provides details about what these approaches and innovations should include.

Meeting individuals where they’re at
We need more accountable, aggressive action by providers. If a person does not fit into our current treatment paradigm—that is, if they don’t come into the office on time or take the medicine that is prescribed—they are typically considered noncompliant and often eligible for outpatient commitment.

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Fixing Not Forcing Services

harvey2Harvey Rosenthal
Executive Director, New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS)

In the wake of several recent mass shootings, many are calling for an overhaul of the nation’s systems of mental health care. A national debate has been renewed over whether legislation is needed to force local officials and mental health providers to be more responsive to those with more profound mental health needs, and whether those groups should, in turn, force such individuals to accept some form of treatment. In this post, Harvey Rosenthal argues we should reframe the debate and focus on reforms that significantly increase the range and raise the bar for community outreach and supportive services.

Fixing Not Forcing Services

Over the past year, we’ve seen an intensified focus on our nation’s and state mental health systems that has drawn a broad array of advocacy groups to weigh in on the merits of two legislative proposals put forward by House members Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pennsylvania) and Ron Barber (D-Arizona).

Central to Congressman Murphy’s bill is a provision that would require states to adopt or expand court-mandated outpatient commitment programs like New York’s Kendra’s Law in order to access federal block grant dollars. These and several other provisions have generated much controversy. While it now appears that contentious provisions like these will not be moved by the House GOP leadership this year, it is imperative that we address a number of challenges that the bills present.

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