Original Paper

Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 420-430

First online:

Consumer Empowerment and Self-Advocacy Outcomes in a Randomized Study of Peer-Led Education

  • Susan A. PickettAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago Email author 
  • , Sita M. DiehlAffiliated withNational Alliance on Mental Illness
  • , Pamela J. SteigmanAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • , Joy D. PraterAffiliated withTennessee Mental Health Consumers Association
  • , Anthony FoxAffiliated withTennessee Mental Health Consumers Association
  • , Patricia ShipleyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • , Dennis D. GreyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • , Judith A. CookAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago

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Abstract

This study examined the effectiveness of the Building Recovery of Individual Dreams and Goals (BRIDGES) peer-led education intervention in empowering mental health consumers to become better advocates for their own care. A total of 428 adults with mental illness were randomly assigned to BRIDGES (intervention condition) or a services as usual wait list (control condition). Interviews were conducted at enrollment, at the end of the intervention, and 6-months post-intervention. Random regression results indicate that, compared to controls, BRIDGES participants experienced significant increases in overall empowerment, empowerment-self-esteem, and self-advocacy-assertiveness, and maintained these improved outcomes over time. Peer-led education interventions may provide participants with the information, skills and support they need to become more actively involved in the treatment decision-making process.

Keywords

Peer-led education interventions Consumer empowerment Patient self-advocacy Recovery education