Certified Peer Specialists and Older Adults With Serious Mental Illness' Perspectives of the Impact of a Peer-Delivered and Technology-Supported Self-Management Intervention

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Abstract

We explored the perspectives of certified peer specialists and older adults with serious mental illness on the impact of a peer-delivered medical and psychiatric self-management intervention, “PeerTECH.” Transcripts from interviews with consumers with serious mental illness and a focus group with certified peer specialists who were engaged in PeerTECH were analyzed. Consumer participants (n = 8) had a mean age of 68.8 years (SD = 4.9) and included individuals diagnosed with major depressive disorder (five people), schizophrenia spectrum disorders (two people), and bipolar disorder (one person). Certified peer specialists (n = 3) were aged 55 years or more. Themes included internal and external forces of accountability, confidence, internal and external locus of hope, human bonding, and peer support. This exploratory qualitative study found that human support from peers can potentially influence health behavioral change in a combined peer and technology-based medical and psychiatric illness self-management intervention.

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