Including Peer specialist in Early intervention for psychosis team

Poster C31, Saturday, October 22, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Mathieu Bouchard1, Jean-Felix Hebert-Collette2, Nicolas Girard3, Amal Abdel-Baki4,5,6,7; 1HEC Montreal, 2CHUM, 3CHUM, 4Departement of psychiatry, University of Montreal, 5Clinic JAP, 6CHUM, 7CRCHUM

Background: Many FEP youth (especially those with homelessness and substance misuse) are difficult to engage in treatment especially because of stigma and difficult previous experiences with health/social systems. Peer support can be defined as “a system of giving and receiving help founded on key principles of respect, shared responsibility and mutual agreement of what is helpful”. It is based on the view that people who have similar experiences can better relate and offer more authentic empathy and validation. Peer specialists (PS) are trained clinical workers who use and share their experiential knowledge to assist their peers and instill hope Objectives: In 2015, the JAP Clinic hired a PS as a mean to reduce stigma among the staff, self-stigma among patients, and to nurture trust-based therapeutic alliance between patients and clinicians. Results: Reflecting back on the first year of the integration of a PS in an early intervention for psychosis service, challenges (administrative and clinical) and positive changes will be discussed. By his implication in individual follow-ups, the introduction of a peer-run self-help group, and co-animation of group therapies, his participation in all team meetings, etc. the PS created a bridge between the distinct realities of clinicians and patients and fostered mutual understanding and trust. He acted as change agent, representing patients’ perspectives within the clinical team and helped reducing the hierarchical distance between clinicians and patients. Conclusion: These insights will shed light on the next steps in the exploration of innovative practices to expand clinician-patient partnership and user engagement.

Topic Area: Service System Development and Reform

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