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Developing a Family Bridger Model for Washington State Families & Caregivers

Maria Monroe-DeVita, PhD

Associate Professor 

Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science

University of Washington School of Medicine


Families play a critical role in supporting the recovery of their loved ones who experience early psychosis, yet often experience a lack of resources and skills to play in that supportive role. Peer-to-peer support including family-to-family support are burgeoning areas of practice with an increasing evidence-base.



The goal of this study is to develop and pilot-test a Family Bridger model, whereby families with lived experience with a loved one who has experienced psychosis are trained to provide support and resources to other families when their loved one with psychosis enters outpatient, emergency department, or inpatient care. ​

In order to achieve this goal, we conducted nine focus groups (n = 46) with families and caregivers of individuals who have experienced early psychosis. Families were asked about the kinds of resources and skills they would have liked to have had when their loved one was first hospitalized and during transition to outpatient care. Qualitative analyses suggest that emotional support, skills, communication, advocacy, and community resources are core elements to be developed within a future Family Bridger program.

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