Objective: Various models of peer support may be implemented in mental health settings. This randomized trial assessed the effectiveness of a telephone-delivered mutual peer support intervention.
Methods: A total of 443 patients receiving ongoing depression treatment from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs were enrolled in either enhanced usual care (N=243) or the peer support intervention (N=200). Intent-to-treat analyses assessed outcomes at six months postenrollment, excluding 56 patients who experienced an unplanned telephone platform shutdown.
Results: At baseline, patients had substantial depressive symptoms, functional limitations, and low quality of life. Both groups showed significant clinical improvements at six months, with no significant differences by group.
Conclusions: Telephone-delivered mutual peer support for patients with depression did not improve outcomes beyond those observed with enhanced usual care. Other peer support models, with more "professionalized" peers delivering a structured curriculum, may be more effective.