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Developing a digital curriculum for peer support workers working with persons with severe mental illness.


2023 – 2024


Goa, India


Dr. Ravindra Agarwal, Urvita Bhatia, Miriam Sequiera, Adarsh Ratnakaran, Priyanka Suneja, Saniya Ballikar, Malvina Mendes



This study aims to coproduce a digital curriculum for peer support workers to support individuals with severe mental illness. The project will identify key competencies, skills and content for the program using primary data (expert consultations, surveys and FGDs) and secondary data (literature reviews). The blueprint will be converted into short videos and uploaded onto LMS for accessibility. This will be accomplished over two phases within 24 months. The long-term goal is to reduce coercion and involuntary treatment of individuals with serious mental health conditions and to scale up mental health programs by addressing the lack of a standardized peer support training module in India.


It has been demonstrated that peer support enhances people's well-being; as a result, individuals benefit from increased networks of support, fewer hospital visits, a decreased risk of involuntary treatment, and improved social skills, self-worth, and confidence. Peer support has a significant positive impact on the service user participating in engagement as well as the peer support worker. Unfortunately, as these differ throughout the world, there is a lack of uniformity in the training materials, certifications, curriculum, and prerequisites for becoming a peer support worker. The goal of our effort is to create this curriculum, digitize it, and test its viability and acceptability with peer support providers.

Progress till date

We are currently in the formative stage of the project. We have completed a few expert consultations interviews and FGDs with representatives from peer support organizations. We are also in the process of conducting a scoping review to understand the landscape of peer support programs for mental illness in South Asia.


Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA


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