by Corinna West
The problem we solve:
We need more natural community peer supports. What are these? These are the boxing clubs, gardening clubs, or mentoring groups in every small town and city that already sustain people. They beat traditional mental health care approaches whenever they are directly compared or added to treatment. Innovative ways to provide lay interventions is the #1 item in SAMHSA's 2007 Workforce Development Action plan.
Natural peer supports are more likely to be adopted. Churches and boxing clubs already have workers, whereas mental health centers have relatively low uptake of peer support roles. It is a better work environment: 86% of patient advocates who work in a peer run organizations like ours are happy compared to 54% in mental health centers (Psychiatric Services 64:181–184, 2013). In person natural peer supports are better than online approaches to solve the housing, employment, and social issues that are the real barriers to recovery (NASMHPD 2002). In therapy, 85% of the benefit comes from the trusting relationship built (Scott Miller, KU). Poetry for Personal Power is a training method to teach artists and advocates to teach their community how to build trusting relationships. Our primary outcome measure is hospital avoidance.
About our solution:
Poetry for Personal Power is a business model that trains artists and advocates to connect people to natural peer supports. Our customers are HMOs, ACOs, or health homes who want the 70% reduction in hospitalizations provided by peer supporters (Optum, BRSS-TACS). This is a 455% return on investment according to program cost estimates. Our peer specialists help people get connected with natural peer supports in their community, and the community organizations can use part of the health care funding to grow their services.
Poetry for Personal Power's business model is a process innovation. We combine both informal and formal peer supports. We also expand artists' and advocates' ability to deliver high value interventions and connections. Our processes are simple and repeatable across geographies and medical areas. Artists, advocates, and community programs are already doing this work, and we just provide a slight training adjustment, quality controls, and evaluation measures. We provide online access to network listings as well as specific support programs in order to leverage technology and help isolated or rural people. We can help prevent vast numbers of unneeded hospitalizations with our business system, and we are ready to expand nationwide.Progress to date:Poetry for Personal Power overall agency outcomes for 2015-2016 include: Completion of 134 Health Care Messaging Events with 2,485 artists sharing stories about overcoming adversity, and 4,737 audience in attendance. Our average event size is 43 people. 21 community partners completing the Wellbeing Impact Assessment process Delivered 4 Lay Person Intervention Training sessions Our pre-post surveys show outcomes that are very helpful to people with “major depressive disorder.” Our overall resilience impact is an 18% positive resilience change across all demographics with the program.
Creator: Corinna West
Bio: Poetry for Personal Power's founder Corinna West is an Olympic Judo athlete. She has lived experience of recovery from “major depressive disorder,” and 11 other psychiatric labels. She has a Masters degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. She was a catalyst for Kansas City's lead role in the national mental health dialogue project. She was a Cohort VIII fellow of the Kansas Health foundation. She was recipient of the 2013 Judi Chamberlin award from the National Coalition on Mental Health Recovery.
Title: Program Manager
Advanced Degree(s): MS
St. Louis Regional Coordinator, BA
Biography: Aja Owens has lead our St. LOuis youth team through 24 events this summer, created our most active regional peer support network, and led mental health advocacy efforts to coordinate better with #blacklivesmatter, youth needs, and LGBT advocacy.
Title: St. Louis Regional Coordinator
Advanced Degree(s): BA
Colorado Regional Coordinator,
Biography: Brian has led our Colorado expansion with intense effort related to program design. He is a star of Evita at the Denver Performing Arts Center, an Austim self-advocate, and a funny, warm, and friendly person that is really nice to talk to.
Title: Colorado Regional Coordinator
Kansas City Regional Coordinator,
Biography: Doug is the coach of KC Poet Tree, Kansas City's national youth team that went to the semifinals of the Brave New Voices national slam this year. Doug has led local efforts, trained other artists, and helped design our prison outreach program.
Title: Kansas City Regional Coordinator
How we will improve Depression CarePoetry for Personal Power increases quality by integrating the best and most current research solving root causes of mental health concerns. We address disclosure concerns, negative social judgments, and job discrimination, the three largest barriers to help-seeking (Psych. Med. 45:11-27, 2014). We are building a culture of health and addressing neighborhood health disparities with our coalition of trusted community nonprofits. Our program's “Mental Health is Simple” capacity building puts into action the wellbeing research in the 2013 UK Creating Resilient Communities report. We integrate suicide prevention recommendations from the seminal 2014 “The Way Forward” report. Lay person interventions have a proven ability to reduce prevalence of suicidal behavior, psychological morbidity, and disability days. (British Journal of Psychiatry, 2011: 9:459-66). We are “(ex) / patient- centered” with (ex) / patients leading many of our efforts.
How we will make the lives of those who suffer from depression betterThere are poets, recovery movement advocates, wellness organizations, and funders in every small town and city. The information needed to bring them together is easily shared. Information moves quicker than medicine. Poetry for Personal Power is an intentionally designed social change strategy to popularize effective prevention science. We are making great momentum on a stuck issue in Kansas and Missouri. We can prevent mental illness, provide complete recovery transition services, and build a new paradigm of mental health care. Our methods can be easily transferred to other locations by connecting the key players in those cities with the modular advocacy and artist approaches we are creating. Also, by creating a livable wage for (ex) / patient advocates, we can help solve some of the stuck issues on cancer, diabetes, or other “medical' fields.