Emotional CPR Has a Positive Impact on Participants’ Ability to Help People in Emotional Crisis and on Their Own Well-Being, Researchers Confirm

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BOSTON, MA (March 11, 2021)–A research study evaluating the feasibility and effectiveness of the National Empowerment Center’s peer-led training program, Emotional CPR, has been published in the Journal of Participatory Medicine.

The study—conducted between April 20, 2020, and July 31, 2020—showed that Emotional CPR has positive impacts on participants’ ability to support others as well as on their own well-being.

“This study provides promising evidence that Emotional CPR may increase feelings of belonging while also improving participants’ ability to support others experiencing emotional distress,” said Daniel B. Fisher, MD, PhD, CEO of the National Empowerment Center. “This is an important finding during a time of national crisis when rates of anxiety, depression, substance use, and other mental health issues are increasing. Emotional CPR can play a significant role in providing individuals with the tools and knowledge to support those in their community who are in crisis.”

Emotional CPR is a training program developed by people with lived experience of a psychiatric diagnosis and/or emotional distress or trauma; it is designed to teach people of any background to help others experiencing an emotional crisis.

Emotional CPR participants learn how to connect with others by authentically sharing their feelings, paying attention to nonverbal communication, practicing trauma-informed care and cultural empathy, and collaborating to find meaning, passion, and purpose during times of distress. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Emotional CPR was adapted to be provided online. Since April 2020, scores of online trainings have occurred in the U.S. and other countries.

The research study evaluated the impact of Emotional CPR on training participants, including peer-support specialists, service users, clinicians, family members, and nonprofit leaders. They completed surveys before and after the training assessing their hopefulness, feelings of empowerment and flourishing, mindfulness, active listening skills, social connectedness, positive and negative emotions, and loneliness.

Statistically significant changes were found in participants’ ability to identify and share emotions, support others in distress, communicate nonverbally, and practice self-care, as well as their feelings of social connectedness, self-perceived flourishing, and positive affect. There was also promising evidence of improvements in participants’ feelings of empowerment, active empathetic listening, mindful awareness, and hope, as well as decreases in loneliness. Nonprofit leaders and workers demonstrated the greatest improvements in loneliness, social connectedness, empathetic listening, and flourishing. Peer support specialists demonstrated the greatest improvements in positive affect; and clinicians demonstrated the greatest improvements in mindfulness.

“I’m proud to be an eCPR trainer; training eCPR to me is about watching a community or an organization regain their humanity and making our lives worth living,” said Sean Perry, Emotional CPR trainer and founder and CEO of We R H.O.P.E.

Contact: Daniel B. Fisher, MD, PhD, info4@power2u.org, www.emotional-cpr.org, 800-769-3728, 800-power2u.


Original article

Myers A, Collins-Pisano C, Ferron J, Fortuna K
Feasibility and Preliminary Effectiveness of a Peer-Developed and Virtually Delivered Community Mental Health Training Program (Emotional CPR): Pre-Post Study
J Particip Med 2021;13(1):e25867
URL: https://jopm.jmir.org/2021/1/e25867
DOI: 10.2196/25867

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