Developing the Evidence Base for Peer-Led Services: Changes Among Participants Following WRAP Education in Two State Run Initiatives

The purpose of this analysis was to evaluate the outcomes of two statewide initiatives in Vermont and Minnesota, in which self-management of mental illness was taught by peers to people in mental health recovery using Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP). Methods: Pre-post comparisons were made of reports from 381 participants (147 in Vermont and 234 in Minnesota) on a survey instrument that assessed three dimensions of self-management: 1) attitudes, such as hope for recovery and responsibility for one’s own wellness; 2) knowledge, regarding topics such as early warning signs of decompensation and symptom triggers; and 3) skills, such as identification of a social support network and use of wellness tools. Results: Significant positive changes in self-management attitudes, skills and behaviors were observed on 76% of items completed by Vermont participants (13 of 17 survey items), and 85% of items completed by Minnesota participants (11 of 13 items).

In both states, participants reported significant increases in: 1) their hopefulness for their own recovery; 2) awareness of their own early warning signs of decompensation; 3) use of wellness tools in their daily routine; 4) awareness of their own symptom triggers; 5) having a crisis plan in place; 6) having a plan for dealing with symptoms; 7) having a social support system; and 8) ability to take responsibility for their own wellness. Conclusions: Given the rapid growth of this intervention in the U.S. and internationally, these results contribute to the evidence base for peer-led services, and suggest that more rigorous investigations are warranted in the future.