Episode 108 - Dr. John Brekke, Anthony Fulginiti, and Rohini Pahwa: "For Them, With Them, By Them": A Peer Health Navigator Intervention for Persons with Serious Mental Illness

Monday, November 26, 2012, 8:43:51 AM

Image of Dr. John Brekke, Anthony Fulginiti, and Rohini Pahwa

In this episode, Dr. John Brekke, Anthony Fulginiti, and Rohini Pahwa discuss their research with a Peer Health Navigator Intervention aimed at improving the health of persons with serious mental illness. Describing the intervention as a comprehensive engagement and self-management approach, our guests highlight what makes the intervention unique, recent findings from its application, and its benefits for the Peer Navigators as well.

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Average Rating: 5stars  episode 108 review, Saturday, February 02, 2013

By Meghan Rogers :

Dr. John Brekke, Anthony Fulginiti, and Rohini Pahwa propose a very interesting solution to the problem of early mortality faced by those with mental illness in "For Them, With Them, By Them": A Peer Health Navigator Intervention for Persons with Serious Mental Illness. Navigating the health care system can be troublesome and trying for anyone. Until listening to this podcast, I had not thought about how difficult of a process it must be for those with a serious mental health diagnosis. The statistics given for the decrease in life expectancy because of this problem is alarming, but Dr. John Brekke, Anthony Fulginiti, and Rohini Pahwa provide listeners with a solution that offers hope. Training peer advocates, many of which have mental health diagnoses themselves and have found ways to navigate the system, teach clients skills to manage their own health care. Their research has shown the use of peer advocates to be an effective way of encouraging those with a serious mental illness to engage in health care services and take care of their own health. By offering choices and support, the risk of dying prematurely from a preventable or treatable illness is reduced, and the peer advocates experience increased self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. This was a very interesting and enlightening talk. I feel inspired to research the use of peer advocates and support in greater detail now, and would like to look into using a similar support network with some of my own clients.

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Average Rating: 5stars  episode 108 - review, Friday, February 01, 2013

By Christina :

The intervention that was discussed in this podcast depicted an excellent example of how an issue is determined and then a solution is formed after consulting with those involved. The intervention follows the "modeling, coaching, and fading" approach to best serve and equip the consumers who suffer from serious mental issues and increased mortality rates. It was interesting to see how social workers can apply the same approach to multiple issues. For example, this intervention utilized social work skills that can be applied to individual therapy, as well as to any other social work area. The navigator was established to serve as a support and mediator between the consumer and the health facility, but the consumers are also equipped with the confidence, skills, and tools to manage their own health care. The intervention seems to have an individual-based approached, which is an important aspect of successful outcomes. This is depicted as the consumers choose the primary health facility that he or she prefers, which makes the person more likely to return in the future. It seems as if the intervention was well-thought out and trauma-informed.

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Average Rating: 5stars  peer health navigator for the smi population, Thursday, January 31, 2013

By Nicole :

This was such an interesting podcast that speaks to the importance of helping those with serious mental illness (SMI) in our communities. I liked the idea of utilizing a “peer health navigator” to improve the health of people with SMI because it implements mental health and healthcare/medical social work which is what I am quite interested in! I have personally come across agencies that are using peers for those with mental illness as well as chemical dependency. My field placement employs a “peer recovery coach” who works directly with the clients in group and individual sessions to provide support from someone who has actually been through it all. Clients have reported that this is helpful to them as well as empowering. The use of peers in the field of mental health and chemical dependency has been researched and proven to be quite beneficial.

The researchers mentioned that the SMI population many times uses emergency rooms as their primary care. The overuse of emergency rooms and urgent care clinics actually drive up our healthcare costs. The peer health navigator is utilized to help the client better navigate and understand the healthcare system and use a primary care doctor. In turn, this may decrease healthcare costs while allowing the client to get the best treatment they deserve! It is unfair that those with SMI die an average of 25 years earlier than the “normal” population. I hope this intervention continues to get funding and publicity so those with mental illness can get the healthcare they deserve!

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