The Role of Technology in Peer Support Services (Part 1) - Landscape of Digital Peer Support Services Across the Globe

11:00am - February 13, 2020 | Timezone: US/Eastern
Central East MHTTC
Registration Deadline: February 12, 2020
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Peer support is recognized internationally as an essential mental health service for people learning to cope with or manage symptoms of a mental health condition and/or substance use disorder. These individualized or group-based support services are provided by a peer (“peer support specialist”) whom has a lived experience of a mental health condition and/or substance use disorder. Along with the influx of digital mental health services changing the way traditional providers deliver psychiatric care, peer support specialists (PSS) are using technology to deliver peer support services across the globe. This three-part webinar series will explore the various platforms and contexts in which PSS are using technology to deliver these services. Part 1 will explore the landscape of digital peer support services platforms across the globe and present on program effectiveness with people with a lived experience of a mental health condition.



Karen L. Fortuna, PhD, MSW, holds a doctorate in Social Welfare and a master’s degree in Social Work. Dr. Fortuna is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. Dr. Fortuna is co-producing digital peer support programs with peer support specialists as equal partners in development, research, and ownership. Her team has developed a commercially viable smartphone app, PeerTECH, in which they are currently testing its impact in a real-world environment. Dr. Fortuna was awarded an NIMH K01 award (K01MH117496), a NARSAD Young Investigator Grants from the Brain and Behavior Foundation and the Alvin R. Tarlov & John E. Ware Jr. Award in Patient Reported Outcomes for her work, and the Association of Gerontological Education Social Work Faculty Achievement Award. Dr. Fortuna’s work can be seen in numerous book chapters on digital peer support, in Nature, Psychiatric Services, and Forbes Magazine. She currently serves as editor of the JMIR: Journal of Participatory Medicine. She is a board member of the International Association of Peer Supporters. She currently serves on the International Editorial Board for the British Journal of Social Work. She was invited to serve as a member of the American Psychiatric Association’s Smartphone App Expert Advisory Panel.

Learning Objectives:
  • Identify recent global advances in the development of digital peer support technologies.
  • Determine how virtual peer support services can be used in your organization.
  • Describe how to prepare your organization to implement virtual peer support services.
  • Implement a process to hire and train peer support specialists to offer virtual peer support and other evidence-based services.
Who Should Attend?

Peer support specialists, researchers, administrators, behavioral health care professionals, state and local policymakers, and community advocates.