Peer Mentoring and Telephone based Counselling
As part of our work for the Gateways Initiative we undertook as series of research projects aimed at understanding the potential role of peer mentors in providing recovery-orientated services. We have authored a report ‘Peer-Based Interventions in the Criminal Justice System: Review of the Literature and Testing the Feasibility of Using Peers in Substance Misuse Treatment’ due to be published by Public Health England. These projects reviewed the evidence for peer support interventions in a range of criminal justice settings. We also tested the efficacy of alcohol brief interventions and telephone-based support with 32 peer mentors working with ex-offenders.
We have been working with Professor David Best from Sheffield Hallam University to develop a manual for Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs). The aim of this manual is to help staff support individuals on probation that have started their recovery journey. The aim is to provide guidance and tools on how to support those individuals in the community - primarily by telephone - as they attempt to sustain their initial attempts to change.
Evaluation of Mutual Aid in Substance Misuse
Therapeutic Solutions (Addictions) were commissioned by the Matthew Project in Norfolk to understand the drivers of mutual aid within substance misuse treatment. 35 individuals were recruited by the Matthew Project to engage in either one of the two projects (an individual could access more than one intervention) and participants’ baseline scores were determined through a composite Treatment Outcome Profile (TOP) and Outcome Star (OS) measure. Differences in a range of outcome measures based on the TOP and OS were calculated using a paired-sample t-test to test for statistical significance. Alongside this statistical analysis service users were recruited by the Matthew Project for an in-depth focus group exploration of views and perceptions. Key findings included:
- The study found statistically significant improvements in outcomes among this sample of service users who engaged with Intuitive and/or SMART Recovery projects across a range of domains held on TOP and OS including (a) alcohol consumption; (b) psychological/quality of life; (c) physical health; (d) use of time; (e) social networks; and (f) finance
- Service users interviewed were positive about their experience with both groups and in particular the ability “to take something” from each intervention rather than absolute fidelity to a single approach or philosophy