Peer Support Services

A certified peer specialist (CPS) is a person with a lived experience of a mental health condition that supports and assists others in their recovery. Certified peer specialists can help improve outcomes by modeling successful behaviors and coping strategies and by guiding others in effectively utilizing community resources.  A growing body of evidence supports the benefits of peer specialists in supporting mental health recovery and physical well-being, across a range of mental health and primary care settings. (1.2)

Peer Support Specialists are role models of hope, self-care and recovery skills. Their lived experience helps clients not only with the daily task of living with and recovering from mental illness, but also in navigating the complex mental health care system. They are specially qualified to help clients develop goals and wellness plans, monitor recovery progress, get support during a crisis, and learn effective coping strategies. Peers also assist in obtaining resources, overcoming day-to-day barriers associated with mental illness, and changing stigma. To learn more about the vital role peers play in recovery services, view the resources below.


Interested in what peer services look like in your Region IV state? Clicking on your state below.

  • Peer Supervision Training: The Peer Supervision Training will enable participants to implement strengths-based and recovery-oriented supervision practices with diverse Certified Peer Specialists, actively support Certified Peer Specialists professional and personal development, and advocate for Certified Peer Specialists and their integration into the workplace. The training includes an in-depth look at how the strengths-based, recovery-oriented approach of Certified Peer Specialists is different from but can enhance traditional clinical interventions.
  • Ready for Reentry: Forensic Peer Mentor Program. Join us as we explore the Forensic Peer Mentor (FPM) role in a 4-part series 'Ready for Reentry'. Throughout the series, attendees will learn about the organizational framework needed, explore ways to build community relationships, and understand the practical application of a Forensic Peer Mentor program.
  • Alternatives: The Peer Perspective on Respite (4-Part Series). In this 4-part series we take a look at mental health respite care from the peer perspective, including discussions on its history and future direction, when and how it is being used (both in the Southeast and nationally), and the ways it can benefit one's recovery journey.
  • Trauma and the Peer Perspective is a 3-part webinar series examining the experiences of Certified Peer Specialists (CPS) as they navigate, utilize, and provide trauma services. The prevalence and impact of trauma is undeniable as statistics show that as many as 90% of the people who enter the public behavioral health system have experienced trauma. This series will examine the myriad of ways trauma is defined and addressed within behavioral health systems. We will explore how systems can create trauma and/or retraumatize those seeking help and how trauma informed peer support and services can be a game changer.  For additional information, view the accompanying infographic.
  • Peer Perspectives: 988 In Every State is a three-part webinar series exploring what 988 is—its purpose, history, goals, & mechanics, taking micro and macro views of the system by speaking with front line Certified Peer Specialists answering calls and administrators behind the scenes. 
  • Elevating Language through COVID-19 (Part 1): This on-demand training provides a 360-degree view of the language of behavioral health. In the training, we take a peer-centered look at how language is used by others to describe us, how we use language to describe ourselves, and how language can increase or decrease stigma and access to quality mental health recovery and wellness supports. Elevating Language through COVID-19 (Part 2): In Part Two: Creating the Elevating Message of our Elevating Language series, individuals are guided through developing a two-minute message of behavioral health hope and possibility to use when advocating for behavioral health supports and services. For additional information, view our "In Our Own Words: A Toolkit for Peer Advocacy Using Recovery-Based Language", which increases awareness of the language used when talking about mental health and guides peers through the process of crafting their own elevator message.
  • Providing Peer Support to Individuals in Dual Recovery: In recognition of National Recovery Month, the Southeast Mental Health Technology Transfer Center hosted a panel discussion featuring Certified Peer Specialists providing Peer Support Services to individuals in dual recovery (from substance use and mental health concerns). For additional information, view the accompanying infographic for highlights from the panel discussion, including the challenges and opportunities that CPS face in providing dual recovery peer support.
  • Supporting CPS of Color: Given their shared lived experiences, Certified Peer Specialists (CPS) are crucial in offering mutually beneficial support to peers who are recovering from psychiatric and/or substance use disorders. This fact sheet examines the unique role of CPS of color, identifies challenges they may face, and suggests recommendations an organization can implement to support CPS of color.


1.    Chinman, Matthew, et al. "Peer support services for individuals with serious mental illnesses: assessing the evidence." Psychiatric Services 65.4 (2014): 429-441.

2.    Bellamy, Chyrell, Timothy Schmutte, and Larry Davidson. "An update on the growing evidence base for peer support." Mental Health and Social Inclusion (2017).

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