Peer Support is a system of giving and receiving help founded on key principles of respect, shared responsibility, and mutual agreement of what is helpful; it is a process dedicated to promoting empowerment and self-determination in the service of recovery.
What is a Peer Support Specialist?
A Peer Support Specialist is a person with a mental health and /or co-occurring disorder, who has been trained to help others with these disorders, to identify and achieve specific life and recovery goals. A Peer Support Specialist is actively engaged in his/her own recovery, and volunteers or is hired to provide Peer Support services to others engaged in mental health treatment.
What is the purpose of a Peer Support Program?
• To provide opportunities for Veterans to take control of their own recovery
• To teach and support the learning of skills needed to facilitate one's recovery
• To make Veterans aware of available services and choices
• To help Veterans develop a sense of wellness and self-worth
• To bring a unique perspective to the treatment teams on which they work
What do trained Peer Support Specialists do?
• They serve as role models by sharing their personal recovery stories, showing that recovery from mental illness is possible.
• They teach goal setting, problem solving, symptom management skills and a variety of recovery tools.
• They empower by helping others identify their strengths, supports, resources and skills.
• They advocate by working to eliminate the stigma of mental illness.
• They act as community liaisons by identifying social support within the community and encouraging the expansion of local community resources.
Contact your Mental Health Treatment Coordinator or Primary Mental Health Clinic to discuss Peer Support Services that are available.