Care Navigators and Peers for Mental Health: What is the State of Practice?
Many people with serious mental illnesses continue to experience premature mortality and complex physical health problems. Navigation and guided care methods have been expanded to reach many different populations – all of whom face varying barriers to health care and social services. A navigator guides consumer/patients around health system obstacles with ultimate goals of achieving access to care. Navigator and peer programs have had the most positive effect in helping mental health consumer/patients link to primary care. The voices of consumer/patients, peers, and other navigators are integral to the science and art of navigation for mental health. Effective navigation models, trained navigator and peer professionals have enormous potential to help consumer/patients achieve optimal physical and mental health outcomes.