A Program Evaluation of Virtual Office Hour Sessions for Certified Peer Specialists in the United States During the COVID-19 Pandemic Open Access
Araya, Hannah (Spring 2021)
Background. In March 2020 Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic swarmed many countries unexpectedly, exacerbating disparities in health, social, and economic infrastructures. It was declared a national public health emergency causing state-mandated stay-at-home orders. During this time, mental healthcare services transitioned from in-person to telemental health. During this time, anxiety and depressive symptoms increased to 41%. Those with unmet mental healthcare needs also increased to 11%. With the urgency to support the demands of healthcare needs and mental health professionals providing services, the Southeast Mental Health Technology Transfer Center launched virtual Office Hours Sessions (OHS) to provide consultation services for Certified Peer Specialists (CPS). CPS are mental health professionals with a history of a mental health condition and/or substance use disorder, trained to provide services to others on their path to recovery. The purpose of this program evaluation was to assess the delivery of the virtual OHS for CPS during COVID-19. Methods. A mixed-methods analysis was conducted to examine the demographics of participants, knowledge, and skills gained from OHS, the engagement of participants, and barriers when delivering OHS. Results. Half of the participants attended the sessions from a southeastern state. The majority of attendees were women, white, received some college but no degree, and are Peer Professionals or Outreach Facilitators. Most attendees reported working in Community Recovery Support Centers or Community Health Centers. Reports showed that participants found OHS topics relevant and planned to implement newly gained knowledge and skills in their current practice. The main barriers to delivering sessions included low participant interaction and external factors. Conclusion. The findings highlight proficient presenters, relevant topics, stakeholders’ feedback, a versatile conferencing system, and external sources as important factors to consider when delivering virtual OHS for CPS during a pandemic.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION AND REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Mental Health Impact of COVID-19
Southeast MHTTC and GMHCN
Virtual Office Hours for CPS
Defining Relevant Terms
Purpose of Evaluation
CHAPTER II: METHODOLOGY
CHAPTER III: RESULTS
Evaluation Question #1: What are the characteristics of the participates in OHS?
Evaluation Question #2: Did OHS influence the professional knowledge and skills of participants?
Evaluation Question #3: What aspects of OHS increased engagement?
Evaluation Question #4: What were barriers to delivering OHS?
CHAPTER IV: DISCUSSION
Strengths and Limitations of Evaluation
Lessons Learned and Future Considerations
APPENDIX A: IRB Memorandum
APPENDIX B: Data Source Examples
About this Master's Thesis
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