School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Jeff Doyle


serious mental illness, mental health, recovery, peer support, recovery support, peer workers, peer specialists, certified peer specialist, recovery mentors


Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Certified peer specialists, or mental health peer support services, have grown as a non-traditional service to provide mental health and recovery support to individuals struggling with a mental health diagnosis. The use of mental health peer support services is an attempt to provide non-clinical mental health recovery support through the lived experience of individuals in recovery. This non-experimental study aimed to evaluate the effects of Medicaid-funded mental health peer support services on mental health recovery outcomes of individuals with serious mental illness or severe emotional disturbances. This study used quantitative analysis of archival data. Four mental health recovery outcome variables were assessed for pretest and posttest change over one year of peer support services. Pretest and posttest recovery outcome scores were collected through the Adult Needs and Strengths Assessment archival data. This assessment measures individual strengths, mental health needs, risk behaviors, and life domain functioning of mental health peer support participants. Repeated measures analysis evaluated the pretest and posttest scores of 188 (n = 188) peer support services and identified significant differences between the means of pretest and posttest scores. These scores represented the variables of individual strengths and risk behaviors, suggesting that peer support effectively improves participants' strengths and risk behaviors. The analysis also identified a decrease in the means of mental health needs and life domain functioning scores, suggesting peer improvement in these domains; however, the decrease was not statistically significant. The findings of this study indicate that receiving mental health peer support services increases an individual's personal strengths and decreases their engagement in risk behaviors.

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