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“We’re All in this Together”: Peer-specialist Contributions to a Healthy Lifestyle Intervention for People with Serious Mental Illness

Authors
  • Bochicchio, Lauren1
  • Stefancic, Ana2
  • Gurdak, Kristen2
  • Swarbrick, Margaret3
  • Cabassa, Leopoldo J.4
  • 1 Columbia University, School of Social Work, 1255 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY, 10027, USA , New York (United States)
  • 2 Columbia University, Department of Psychiatry, 1051 Riverside Dr., Rm 6203, New York, NY, 10031, USA , New York (United States)
  • 3 Rutgers Behavioral Health Care, Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey, 11 Spring Street, Freehold, NJ, 07728, USA , Freehold (United States)
  • 4 Washington University in St. Louis, George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Campus Box 1196, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, 63130, USA , St. Louis (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research
Publisher
Springer US
Publication Date
Dec 18, 2018
Volume
46
Issue
3
Pages
298–310
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10488-018-0914-6
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

This qualitative study explored peer specialists’ contributions to a healthy lifestyle intervention for obese/overweight individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) living in supportive housing. Intervention participants, peer specialists, and supervisors were interviewed and a grounded model emerged from the data identifying essential interpersonal attributes of the peer specialist-participant relationship. Peer specialists’ disclosure of their own experiences making health behaviors changes was critical for building participants’ motivation and ability to try lifestyle changes. Findings can inform peer specialist training and practice standards and facilitate the expansion of peer-delivered interventions to improve the physical health of people with SMI.

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