This research project examines self-employment and microenterprise (“small business”) ownership as a strategy to improve career and financial outcomes for individuals with psychiatric disabilities. Policies such as the Affordable Care Act, as well as technological innovations, have created new opportunities to foster entrepreneurship.  

The main project activities are 1) to conduct an environmental scan by collecting and synthesizing information from literature, policy analyses, and key informants; 2) to collect survey data from self-employed individuals who operate microenterprises to understand their personal histories, experiences of work, and business strategies.

This initiative facilitates connections between junior investigators and researchers at the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities to provide people early in their careers access to large, federally-funded data sets to conduct publishable analyses.  Involvement in this project will provide junior investigators professional networking opportunities with researchers outside of the home institution, and promote expanded knowledge and expertise in mental health services and quantitative analysis. 

Live & Learn is responsible for facilitating connections between junior investigators and Temple University researchers. You can sign up on the ECDC webpage. is a comprehensive online resource dedicated to dissemination and implementation efforts to help communities create effective, sustainable crisis alternatives through independent peer-run programs. Live & Learn created to provide public access to information about research, technical assistance, resources, and a program directory. Peer respites are voluntary, short-term, overnight programs that provide community-based, trauma-informed, and person-centered crisis support and prevention 24 hours per day in a homelike environment.

With grant funding from the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, Live & Learn is conducting a pilot study looking at the first-hand experience of discontinuing psychotropic medications. When people choose to come off medications, they may struggle to find the information or support they need. The Psychiatric Medication Discontinuation/Reduction (PMDR) Study aims to understand what helps or prevents people from stopping their psychiatric medications if  they choose to do so.  

The study involves a web-based survey of U.S. adults.  We hope this pilot study will foster more in-depth and robust research funded by larger research grants in the future. 

Under contract with the National Empowerment Center, and in partnership with Human Services Research Institute, Live & Learn provides technical assistance to local governments and community groups on the development and evaluation of peer respites. 

California Stakeholder Advocacy Measuring and Monitoring Strategy

Under contract with the California Association of Mental Health Peer-Run Organizations (CAMHPRO), Live & Learn explored potential strategies to measure and monitor the impact of stakeholder advocacy – particularly by people with lived experience of the mental health system – on decisions affecting the public mental health system in California. Stakeholder advocacy includes activities by people directly affected by policy decisions to guide or change these decisions through collective action. CAMHPRO outlined a brief history of advocacy in Mental Health Consumer Movement 101: The story of a social change movement and developed a Glossary of Mental Health System Terms.

The team pursued a two-part strategy: 1) Conduct a literature review of existing methods and 2) Pilot test a survey data collection method that could be used by the state in future evaluations of advocacy activities. We then made recommendations to the state Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission on a strategy to address the question: Where are the opportunities for increasing the impact of advocates’ activities?

Reviewing the Impact of Peer-Delivered Trauma Treatment

To support research of faculty at University of New Mexico, Live & Learn is conducting a literature review on the outcomes and impact of peer-delivered services for individuals with behavioral health problems (especially substance use disorders) with a focus on the delivery of an evidence-based practice in group format. We will then contribute a narrative summary of this literature to UNM's reporting on their PCORI Trauma Treatment Supplement.

Self-Directed Care Cost Analyses

Temple University

The Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities at Temple University has contracted with Live & Learn to conduct research on the service utilization and cost impact of the Consumer Recovery Investment Fund – Self-Directed Care (CRIF-SDC) II program. The objectives of this subcontract are to understand the relationship between CRIF-SDC and service utilization and cost by conducting analyses of CRIF-SDC program and Medicaid claims data and report the results to Temple University. A final report will include a detailed description of the analysis, tables displaying results by research question, and a brief interpretation of the results. The final report may also inform future analyses and research questions. The team will work to prepare manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals, and present results to research and community audiences as relevant.