Assistant Professor Stacy Barrenger Awarded an NYU Research Challenge Fund Grant

Assistant Professor Stacey Barrenger has been awarded a New York University Research Challenge Fund Grant for a study examining experiences of peer support workers with criminal justice and mental health histories.

Under the Affordable Care Act, peer support services—like support groups and peer-run programs—are anticipated to be a critical component of the mental health work force expansion as peer support services become reimbursable through Medicaid and Medicare. Additionally, as the number of support programs grow for people in the criminal justice system with mental illness, there have been calls by those in the mental health and criminal justice systems to incorporate peer support workers into their programs. There are few support programs that employ peers and little is known about the experience of peer workers, how they incorporate their past criminal justice and mental health histories in to their work, and how they abstain from re-engaging in criminal activity.

Barrenger’s findings will help expand the knowledge base of peer support workers with mental illness and criminal justice histories, how they incorporate their experiences into their work, and the benefits derived from being a peer support worker.