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Why and How Peer Services Improve Health and Wellness of People with Mental Illness


For numerous reasons, including several barriers to accessing quality healthcare, people with serious mental illness (SMI) have a mortality rate between 1.5 to 3 times greater than those without mental illness. Prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic, peer support specialist programs established by providers exist to address some of these challenges that impede healing and overall health of persons with serious mental illness. Peer support specialists are persons in recovery who use their lived and shared experience to bridge interpersonal and systemic barriers to accomplishing the health and wellness goals of others with mental illness.

National Council for Mental Wellbeing, in partnership with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), hosted this webinar in April of 2021 to explore the benefits of peer support services, research findings on peer services, practical guidelines on setting up peer support programs, and how COVID-19 health challenges have affected peer support services among people with SMI.

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Funding for this initiative was made possible by grant no. 1H79TI083022 from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.