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Peer Support Providers

Peer support is the process of offering assistance to achieve long-term recovery.

Peer support providers are people with a personal experience of recovery from mental health, substance use, or trauma conditions who receive specialized training and supervision to guide and support others who are experiencing similar mental health, substance use or trauma issues toward increased wellness. Peer support providers offer emotional support, share knowledge, provide practical assistance, and connect people with resources, opportunities, communities, and other people. Peer support providers offer a special source of support to help inspire hope and sustain long term recovery.

September is Recovery Month!

National Recovery Month logo 2021

Now in its 32nd year, Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those in recovery, just as we celebrate improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.

Each September, Recovery Month works to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the emergence of a strong and proud recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery in all its forms possible.

Check out our Wellness Tip of the Month!

Measuring Outcomes of Peer Recovery Support Services

To guide the expansion of peer recovery support services, and to ensure these services are effective, The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services produced a targeted review of the peer recovery services literature was conducted to provide:

• An overview of recovery and peer support within the field of behavioral health services;

• A current definition of peers and a description of the recovery support services they provide;

• A focused repository of salient substance use and mental health recovery outcomes associated with peer recovery support services;

• Suggestions for selecting measures/assessments of peer recovery support services-related outcomes;

•Recommendations to guide peer recovery service provision, evaluation, and outcomes measurement.

Perceptions of Supervisors of Peer Support Workers in Behavioral Health

A recent article describes content analysis of open-ended survey responses compares and contrasts perceptions on supervision from supervisors with experience providing direct peer support services (PS) and supervisors without experience providing direct peer support services (NPS). A 16-item online survey was distributed via the National Association of Peer Supporters (N.A.P.S.) listserv and through peer networks and peer run organizations. Responses from 837 respondents, across 46 US states, were analyzed. Four open ended questions assessed supervisors’ perceptions on differences supervising peer support workers (PSW) as compared to other staff, important qualities of PSW supervisors, roles when supervising a PSW, and concerns about PSWs in the organization. Among NPS and PS, three major differences in themes emerged: the knowledge required of supervisors, understanding of the role of the PSW, and supervisors’ beliefs regarding PSW competencies. PS have a more nuanced understanding of the peer support worker role and the impact of lived experience in the role.

Foglesong, D., Spagnolo, A. B., Cronise, R. et al. (2021, June). Perceptions of Supervisors of Peer Support Workers (PSW) in Behavioral Health: Results from a National Survey. Community Mental Health Journal. doi: 10.1007/s10597-021-00837-2