Advocacy and Peer Support
Mental health peer services employ persons with lived experience with mental health issues &/or in the mental health system ("peers") trained to help assist persons with mental health issues in crisis. Coming from having had experiences with their own issues, stigma, systems issues in getting proper care, issues of self-advocacy, these people are trained to help navigate the challenges we face every day. The idea and ethic is mutual support, not one-sided "expert" vs "patient" or "pro" vs "broken person".
Peer-run non-profits are also a special category of entity. These are non-profits where the staff, officers, and/or board of directors are (mainly) people with disabilities or lived experience with disabilities (i.e. "peers").
Peer services also exist for people in recovery ("peer recovery specialists") from substance use disorder and there are peer services being rolled out for people with lived experience in the criminal justice system to help them come back to community.
For more information on Peer Services see http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/peer-services — while peer support services are not limited to the United States, it is a relatively low-key and little-known asset that is developing as a "best practice" internationally. If anyone knows what it is called in their country/language, if you know of any clearinghouses for finding local peer support services, etc. please let us know and we'll add it to the list.
- http://www.nyaprs.org - peer-run state-wide advocacy group
- organizes a Legislative Day in Albany NY (next: Tuesday, February 27, 2018)
- Independent Living, Inc. - peer-run cross-disability non-profit with peer services for mental health, bridgers for hospital-to-community transition, peer-run substance abuse recovery, etc.
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