The evidence for peer support

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Joseph Milowic III
May 21, 2019

Research shows that recovery from a mental health issue is not only possible but likely in the vast majority of cases.  Research also shows that recovery happens at much higher rates in poor, undeveloped countries where there is less stigma and more support from the whole community.

Evidence for Peer Support

Research shows benefits of peer support include:  greater satisfaction in life (Felton et al., 1995), greater quality of life (Klein et al., 1998), greater hopefulness (Cook et al., 2010), better social functioning (Klein et al., 1998), fewer problems and needs (Craig et al., 2004; Felton et al., 1995), less inpatient use (Clarke et al., 2000; Klein et al., 1998; Min et al., 2007; Landers & Zhou, 2009), more time and engagement with the community (Clarke et al., 2000; Min et al., 2007), better treatment engagement (Craig et al., 2004; Sells et al., 2006; Felton et al., 1995).

Lecture / video:  “Qualitative Study: Peer Support in Mental Health Service” – Mike Watt, Ph.D.

Evidence That the Majority of People Recover from Schizophrenia

Long-term research by Harding, Ciompi, Bleuler and others has shown that a majority of people hospitalized for lengthy periods have recovered significantly or completely from schizophrenia.  The researchers defined individuals as completely recovered being without symptoms, off of psychotropic medication, living independently in the community, working, and relating well to others with no behaviors considered odd or unusual. The researchers defined individuals as significantly improved when they fulfilled all but one of the domains.

Bleuler, Manfred (1974). The long-term course of the schizophrenic psychoses. Psychological Medicine, 4, 244-254

Huber, G., Gross,G., Schuttler,R.. (1975). Long-term follow-up study of schizophrenia. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 53, 49-57.

Ciompi, L. (1988). Psyche and Schizophrenia. Harvard U. Press, Cambridge,MA.

Tsuang,M., Woolson, R., and Fleming, J. (1979). Long-term outcome of major psychosis. Archives of General Psychiatry, 36: 1295-1301.

Harding, C. et al. (1987). The Vermont longitudinal study of persons with severe mental illness, I. Methodology, study sample, and overall status 32 years later. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144:718-728.

DeSisto, et al. (1995). The Maine and Vermont three decade studies of serious mental illness. British Medical Journal of Psychiatry 167: 338-342.