by Comprehensive Staff
What is Peer Support?
We embrace a Peer Support model here at Comprehensive Healthcare, with Peer Support Counselors working with clients at many of our service sites. Peer Support is a mental health service provided by an individual who uses his or her lived experience of recovery—plus recovery support skills learned in formal certification trainings—to promote hope, empowerment, personal responsibility, self-advocacy, resilience, and recovery in the lives of others living with mental health conditions. The most powerful tool those working in Peer Support roles have is their personal recovery story. Peer Support professionals have often "been there and done that" in their own recovery, so they’re able to connect with and offer hope to the people they serve in a way that is unique and different from other mental health services.
A supportive, collaborative relationship based on the honest, open sharing of lived recovery experiences—when it’s appropriate and relevant to do so—is the heart of the Peer Support process. While Peer Support professionals may be called upon to assist with a variety of clients' needs, as a service Peer Support is less about tasks or doing things for clients and more about coming alongside, being present, and doing things with clients. The goal is always to empower clients to move in the direction of greater stability, wellness, recovery and what the client thinks will improve the quality of their life in healthy, positive, strengths-based ways.
By John Caldwell, Comprehensive Healthcare Peer Support Counselor in Walla Walla