LDH / Office of Behavioral Health / Peer Support Specialists




What is a Peer Support Specialist?

A Peer Support Specialist is a person in recovery from a behavioral health condition (mental health, substance use, or co-occurring) who provides mentoring, guidance, and support services and offers their skills to others who are experiencing behavioral health challenges and receiving behavioral health services. The Peer Support Specialist’s role within the behavioral health system of care is to provide supportive services, working in conjunction with clinical treatment providers. While peer support services greatly enhance clinical services, they are not clinical in nature. Peer Support Specialists support individuals with behavioral health conditions in their recovery.

The individual providing peer support can perform a range of tasks to assist the person receiving services during the recovery process. Activities could include, but are not limited to, developing formal and informal supports, instilling confidence, assisting in the development of goals, serving as an advocate, mentor, or facilitator for resolution of issues and skills necessary to enhance and improve the health of a person with emotional, behavioral, or co-occurring disorders.

Peer Support Specialists can and should assist the clinical process by performing such duties as:

Identifying goals
Assisting with treatment planning
Life skills coaching
Resource referral
Conducting recovery groups
Assisting with discharge planning
Peer Support Specialists cannot provide clinical services such as:

Medication management
Psychosocial evaluations
Diagnostic assessment
Psychiatry services
Conduct therapy groups


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