RESIDENT: Enhancing peer-support experience for patients discharged from acute psychiatric care: Protocol for a randomized controlled pilot trial

Evaluate the session

Presenting Author(s): Dr. Allen Fu

Co-Author(s): Dr. Vincent I.O. Agyapong, Katherine Hay, Dr. Marianne Hrabok, Dr. Liana Urichuk

Date and time: 24 Mar 2018 from 15:00 to 15:15

Location: Bluebell  Floor Map

Learning Objectives:

  1. Overview of the role of peer support systems in mental health.
  2. Gain an appreciation for the challenges faced by patients discharged from acute psychiatric care
  3. Description of the “Edmonton Peer Support System,” an innovative peer support program

Literature Reference:

Sokol R, Fisher E. Peer Support for the Hardly Reached: A Systematic Review. Am J Public Health Ajph [Internet]. 2016 [cited 2017 Aug 24]; Available from:

Proudfoot JG, Jayawant A, Whitton AE, Parker G, Manicavasagar V, Smith M, et al. Mechanisms underpinning effective peer support: a qualitative analysis of interactions between expert peers and patients newly-diagnosed with bipolar disorder. BMC Psychiatry. 2012;12(1):196.

Chinman M, George P, Dougherty RH, Daniels AS, Ghose SS, Swift A, et al. Peer support services for individuals with serious mental illnesses: assessing the evidence. Psychiatr Serv Wash DC. 2014 Apr 1;65(4):429–41.

Lloyd-Evans B, Mayo-Wilson E, Harrison B, Istead H, Brown E, Pilling S, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials of peer support for people with severe mental illness. BMC Psychiatry. 2014 Dec 14(1). Available from:

Agyapong VIO, Mrklas K, Juhás M, Omeje J, Ohinmaa A, Dursun SM, et al. Cross-sectional survey evaluating Text4Mood: mobile health program to reduce psychological treatment gap in mental healthcare in Alberta through daily supportive text messages. BMC Psychiatry. 2016 Dec 16(1). Available from:


Peer support is a construct of emotional, social and practical help provided by non-professionals to assist patients with chronic health behaviours. The mechanisms that underlie peer support are experiential knowledge sharing, modeling coping strategies, and enhancing social support. Further, it allows for engaging unconventional patients that would otherwise avoid the healthcare system and benefits peer support workers by enhancing feelings of competence and self-worth. However, there is a need for rigorous methodology to better evaluate outcomes from peer support programs and to further develop the peer support workforce. The aim of this prospective, rater blinded, three arm randomized controlled trial is to systematically evaluate the “Edmonton Peer Support System,” a novel model that includes innovative features of service delivery (incentive-based model of training for peer support workers and text messaging). 180 patients discharged from acute psychiatric care in Edmonton will be randomized to three groups: usual follow-up, usual follow-up plus daily supportive/reminder text messages, or peer support system plus daily supportive/reminder text messages. Each group will complete evaluation measures (e.g., recovery, general symptomatology, functional outcomes) at baseline, six months, and 12 months. The experience of peer support workers will also be collected. Data will be analyzed with repeated measures and effect size analyses, with correlational analysis completed at each time point. We hypothesize that patients enrolled in the peer support system plus daily text messages condition will achieve superior outcomes compared to other groups. The results of this study will guide the design for a future, more highly powered study

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