What is Peer Support?
Peer support has existed for hundreds of years, but has only recently become a professional discipline. For example, peer support may be seen in a variety of areas, including Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) groups, grief groups, parenting groups, etc. Now, peer support is becoming formalized and involves training and paid positions. Peer delivered services is a discipline. This is reflected in a credentialing process at the state level in Oregon, as well as an advanced national peer support specialist certification.
A person who works in peer delivered services is an individual who has made a personal commitment to their own mental health and/or addiction recovery, has navigated their recovery over a period of time, participates in special training to work with others, and is willing to share what they have experienced to support others on their self-directed, individualized path. Peer support is never mandated. Instead, it is directed by the individuals with whom one works. Peer support can be an incredible source of hope, challenges stigma, and supports recovery.
Peer Support Specialists believe in recovery and work to promote the values that:
- Recovery is a choice and unique to each individual.
- Recovery is a journey, not a destination.
- Self-directed recovery is possible for everyone, with or without professional help.