• Core Competencies to Promote Consistency and Standardization of Best Practices for Digital Peer Support: Focus Group Study

      Collins-Pisano, Caroline; Court, Juan Velez; Johnson, Michael; Mois, George; Brooks, Jessica; Myers, Amanda; Muralidharan, Anjana; Storm, Marianne; Wright, Maggie; Berger, Nancy; et al. (JMIR Publications, 2021-12-01)
      Background: As digital peer support is quickly expanding across the globe in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, standardization in the training and delivery of digital peer support can advance the professionalism of this field. While telehealth competencies exist for other fields of mental health practice, such as social work, psychiatry, and psychology, limited research has been done to develop and promote digital peer support competencies. Objective: The goal of this study is to introduce the coproduction of core competencies that can guide digital peer support. Methods: Peer support specialists were recruited through an international listserv and participated in a 1-hour virtual focus group. A total of four focus groups were conducted with 59 peer support specialists from 11 US states and three countries. Results: Analysis was conducted using the rigorous and accelerated data reduction (RADaR) technique, and 10 themes were identified: (1) protecting the rights of service users, (2) technical knowledge and skills in the practice of digital peer support, (3) available technologies, (4) equity of access, (5) digital communication skills, (6) performance-based training, (7) self-care, (8) monitoring digital peer support and addressing digital crisis, (9) peer support competencies, and (10) health literacy (emerging). The authors present recommendations based on these themes. Conclusions: The introduction of digital peer support core competencies is an initial first step to promote the standardization of best practices in digital peer support. The established competencies can potentially act as a guide for training and skill development to be integrated into US state peer support specialist competencies and to enhance competencies endorsed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). © Caroline Collins-Pisano, Juan Velez Court, Michael Johnson, George Mois, Jessica Brooks, Amanda Myers, Anjana Muralidharan, Marianne Storm, Maggie Wright, Nancy Berger, Ann Kasper, Anthony Fox, Sandi MacDonald, Sarah Schultze, Karen Fortuna.
    • Introduction to Core Competencies for Digital Peer Support: Efforts to Promote Consistency and Standardization of Best Practices

      Collins-Pisano, Caroline; Velez Court, Juan; Johnson, Michael; Mois, George; Brooks, Jessica; Myers, Amanda; Muralidharan, Anjana; Storm, Marianne; Wright, Maggie; Berger, Nancy; et al. (JMIR Publications Inc., 2021-11-04)
      Background: As digital peer support is quickly expanding across the globe in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, standardization in the training and delivery of digital peer support can advance the professionalism of this field. While telehealth competencies exist for other fields of mental health practice such as social work, psychiatry, and psychology, limited research has been done to develop and promote digital peer support competencies. Objective: The goal of this manuscript is to introduce the co-production of core-competencies which can guide digital peer-support. Peer support specialists were recruited through an international listserv and participated in a 1-hour virtual focus group. Methods: A total of four focus groups were conducted with 59 peer support specialists from 11 states and 3 countries. Results: Analysis was conducted using RADar, and ten themes were identified: (1) protecting the rights of service users; (2) technical knowledge and skill in the practice of digital peer support; (3) available technologies; (4) equity of access; (5) digital communication skills; (6) performance-based training; (7) self-care; (8) monitoring digital peer support and addressing digital crisis; (9) peer support competencies; and (10) health literacy (emerging). The authors present recommendations based on these themes. Conclusions: The introduction of digital peer support core competencies is an initial first step to promote the standardization of best practices in digital peer support. The established competencies can potentially act as a guide for training and skill development to be integrated into state peer support specialist competencies and enhance competencies endorsed by the Substance Abuse for Mental Health Services Administration.