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Research scientists led by Johanne Eliacin, PhD, of the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) and Regenstrief Institute, have developed PARTNER-MH, an innovative, peer-led patient navigation program to support racially and ethnically minoritized veterans seeking mental healthcare, regardless of the types of mental health services needed or their mental health diagnoses.

In two peer-reviewed published papers they report significant improvements in mental health outcomes and high participant satisfaction with the program.

PARTNER-MH, developed for VA mental health outpatient clinics, is delivered by peer support specialists to help patients more productively engage with mental health services. It supports patients in identifying their own health and healthcare priorities, communicating more effectively with clinicians and more actively participating in treatment decision-making so patients’ voices are heard and outcomes improved.

This article focuses on a study demonstrating the positive impact of a peer-led navigation program on mental health outcomes for racially and ethnically minoritized veterans. The study showcases how a peer support system significantly improves these individuals’ mental health and overall well-being. The program, designed to bridge gaps in mental health care accessibility and cultural understanding, highlights the importance of peer support and empathy in the healing journey.

The article delves into the program’s specifics, elucidating how it provides tailored assistance, guidance, and a sense of community for minoritized veterans struggling with mental health challenges. The results indicate improved mental health outcomes and increased engagement with mental health services.

Encouragingly, the article urges individuals, especially veterans and those from diverse backgrounds, to seek and embrace the support of peer-led programs in their journey to recovery and mental wellness.

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