Despite treatment advances, psychotic disorders remain among the costliest and most disabling conditions worldwide. One of the best ways to help those experiencing psychosis is to involve their families in treatment. Empirical evidence suggests that family interventions for psychosis confer numerous benefits for both families and their loved ones who experience psychosis. However, behavioral health providers experience multiple barriers to engaging families in treatment, resulting in poor accessibility to family interventions for psychosis and worse outcomes for families and their loved ones alike. For example, families who receive no family interventions for psychosis experience higher rates of stress, burnout, depression, anxiety, caregiver burden, relationship strain, and inadequate social support. These outcomes are further compounded during their loved one’s hospitalization.
Family peer specialists are family members with lived experience who have received specialized training to assist other families with a loved one with mental illness. Such models have been found to improve both patient and family outcomes. One such promising model is a Family Bridger program. Modeled after the Peer Bridger program, we previously piloted a Family Bridger program that deployed family peer specialists to support families who have a loved one with psychosis by providing emotional support, education, advocacy, resource brokerage, and skill-building while their loved one was engaged in an early psychosis outpatient program. For this project, we propose to meet the following specific aims: (1) adapt the Family Bridger program for an inpatient setting, and (2) evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, appropriateness, and preliminary effectiveness of Family Bridgers in an inpatient setting.
January 1, 2024 — December 31, 2024
Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions