Research & Program Areas

Peer-to-Peer Support Program: Depression

Different models of peer support are being explored to improve outcomes of patients with mental health disorders. In this study funded by the VA Health Services Research and Development program, CMCD-affiliated investigator, Marcia Valenstein, MD, MS, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of an intervention consisting of telephone-delivered mutual peer support. A total of 387 VA patients were recruited, all of whom had ongoing depressive symptoms or functional impairment.  Intervention participants received brief training in peer support and were encouraged to have weekly calls with their partner, using a platform developed by CMCD. While outcome analyses did not identify intervention effects, subsequent studies are finding that this novel approach to linking mental health patients with peers is feasible, desirable to users, and may have benefits for subgroups of high-risk patients, such as those recently admitted for a serious depressive episode.

Learn more about the Peer-to-Peer Support Program.

For more information, contact Heather Walters at


Depression, Informal Caregivers, Telephone, Veterans

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