Peers (i.e. people with lived experience of mental illness and/or addictions) are being hired in large numbers to offer support for people with serious mental illnesses, but little is known about how peer providers are viewed. The goal of this study was to measure reactions towards actors posed as peer providers. Half of study participants interacted with an actor portraying a psychiatrist and half interacted with an actor portraying a peer provider. Ratings such as liking, feeling comfortable, as well as time spent talking were measured. Participants did not report preferring actors in either condition and did not talk more or have less silence with actors in either condition. Participants also were equally willing to see actors portraying peer providers again in the future and recommend them to a family member. Among participants who had received mental health services, there was a trend towards viewing actors portraying peer providers as more friendly and effective. These positive initial perceptions suggest that stigma towards people with mental illness does not taint the initial perception of peer providers.
Psychiatric Quarterly – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 27, 2015
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