Enhancing OnTrackNY Services by Including Peer Specialists

Poster C22, Wednesday, October 10, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Essex Ballroom

Iruma Bello1,2, Sascha Dubrul1, Patricia Deegan3, Ellen Dean4, Lisa Dixon1,2; 1New York State Psychiatric Institute, 2Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, 3Pat Deegan PhD & Associates, 4Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

Purpose: Expanding evidence supports the incremental benefit and contributions of peer specialists in the recovery of individuals experiencing behavioral health challenges. While the types of activities of peers have evolved, the most recent emphasis has been on supporting peers in roles that are distinct from other team members, attempting to avoid peers performing clinical responsibilities. OnTrackNY committed to developing a peer role within coordinated specialty care that preserves the peer perspective when embedded within the model. Methods: A team of peer leaders including a lead trainer and key consultants began by working on a manual that built on other peer practices such as Intentional Peer Support and principles for working with first episode psychosis. Numerous iterations of the manual were considered and modified. Once the manual was finalized, attempts were made to hire and train half-time peers at each site: Results: Key issues requiring multiple iterations in manual development were 1) developing a consensus of specific tasks for the role; 2) delineating concrete supervision practices for team leaders; and 3) providing a framework to increase team collaboration and address power dynamics. To date, 11 of 21 peers have been hired. Critical issues in implementation have included concretizing responsibilities that refrain from using a clinical perspective, identifying strategies for engaging youth, helping teams grapple with culture shifts associated with inclusion of peers, and providing supervision guidelines for setting expectations and providing oversight. Conclusions: Peer specialists enhance services provided by OnTrackNY. Training challenges remain in translating manualized concepts into real world practices.

Topic Area: Psychosocial Interventions

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