Revisiting the Rationale and Evidence for Peer Support

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From Psychiatric Times: A recent issue featured an opinion piece by D.J. Jaffe who argued that there is little empirical support for the effectiveness of paid peer-support staff—persons in recovery from mental illness who are trained to provide support to others—on the outcomes of “homelessness, arrest, incarceration, violence, and needless hospitalization.” In this article, we rebut Mr Jaffe’s argument by revisiting the rationale and evidence base for peer support.

While we agree that the government needs to fund more research on this important topic, we argue that stating that peer support “lacks evidence” is simply not accurate. In fact, as we will explain below, over 30 studies have found positive effects in numerous outcome domains. But first, it is important to understand the nature and intended impact of this form of service delivery.

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