“We’re All in this Together”: Peer-specialist Contributions to a Healthy Lifestyle Intervention for People with Serious Mental Illness
This qualitative study explored peer specialists’ contributions to a healthy lifestyle intervention for obese/overweight individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) living in supportive housing. Intervention participants, peer specialists, and supervisors were interviewed and a grounded model emerged from the data identifying essential interpersonal attributes of the peer specialist-participant relationship. Peer specialists’ disclosure of their own experiences making health behaviors changes was critical for building participants’ motivation and ability to try lifestyle changes. Findings can inform peer specialist training and practice standards and facilitate the expansion of peer-delivered interventions to improve the physical health of people with SMI.
KeywordsPeer support Physical health Qualitative Mental illness
We thank Adriana Bastardas-Albero for her assistance with data management and express our gratitude to the intervention participants, supervisors, and peer specialists who participated in this project.
This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (Grant No. R01MH104574).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. London: MacmillanGoogle Scholar
- Chinman, M., McCarthy, S., Bachrach, R. L., Mitchell-Miland, C., Schutt, R. K., & Ellison, M. (2018). Investigating the degree of reliable change among persons assigned to receive mental health peer specialist services. Psychiatric Services, 69(12), 1238–1244. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.201800118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Colton, C. W., & Manderscheid, R. W. (2006). Congruencies in increased mortality rates, years of potential life lost, and causes of death among public mental health clients in eight states. Preventing Chronic Disease. 3(2), A42Google Scholar
- Creswell, J. W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches (2nd edn.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Gillard, S., Foster, R., Gibson, S., Goldsmith, L., Marks, J., & White, S. (2017). Describing a principles-based approach to developing and evaluating peer worker roles as peer support moves into mainstream mental health services. Mental Health and Social Inclusion, 21(3), 133–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Leavy, P. (Ed.)., (2014). The Oxford handbook of qualitative research. Oxford: Oxford Library of Psychology.Google Scholar
- National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. (2014). Enhancing the.Peer Provider Workforce: Recruitment, Supervision and Retention. Alexandria,VAGoogle Scholar
- O’Connell, J. J. (Ed.). (2004). The Health Care of Homeless Persons. Boston: Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program.Google Scholar
- SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions. (2016). Peer Providers. Retrieved from http://www.integration.samhsa.gov/workforce/team-members/peer-providers.
- Sokal, J., Messias, E., Dickerson, F. B., Kreyenbuhl, J., Brown, C. H., Goldberg, R. W., et al. (2004). Comorbidity of medical illnesses among adults with serious mental illness who are receiving community psychiatric services. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 192(6), 421–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar