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