History of Peer to Peer

Throughout history, Peer Support has helped people achieve health and wellness. The consumer-operated service model of Peer Support is now being recognized nationally and internationally. “Recovery-oriented services and supports are often successfully provided by consumers through consumer-run organizations. Studies show that consumer-run services can broaden access to Peer Support and engage more individuals in traditional Mental Health/Substance use and Co-Occurring challenges, and serve as a resource for recovery.

Historically, the substance use challenges and recovery field led the way in recognizing the importance of Peer Support Services for a person seeking to come to terms with a life-changing condition.

William White, in his article,” Peer-based Addiction Recovery Support: History, Theory, Practice, and Scientific Evaluation,” he states the history of addiction treatment and recovery in the United States contains a rich “wounded healer” tradition. For more than 275 years, individuals and families recovering from severe alcohol and other drug problems have provided peer-based recovery support(P-BRS) to sustain one another and to help those still suffering. Formal peer-based recovery support services (P-BRSS) are now being delivered through diverse organizations and roles. (Peer-based Addiction Recovery Support History, Theory, Practice, and Scientific Evaluation-William L. White, MA.)

Specific statistics for history of Peer Support Services in the State of Nevada are not available: however there is a multitude of information located in various articles that are published in journals, periodicals, white pages and other writings-found in written and electronic media.

The impetus for change
The patients’ rights and self-help movements encouraged consumers to make informed decisions and take active roles in their treatment (Chamberlin,1997). As one consumer told the Well-Being Project(Campbell& Schreiber, 1989), “We believe in the freedom to be able to choose the kind of services that are going to make us feel like worthwhile adults in the community and feel like we’re contributing members of society. We feel the best way to do that is to allow us to make our own choices”*

Over time, Federal agencies and to some extent, professionals in the field recognized and accepted the importance of consumers decision making. In 1977, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) launched the Community Support Program (CSP) to focus on the needs of persons with long-term Mental Health challenges. Now an arm of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration(SAMHSA), CSP funded the first National Consumers Alternatives Conferences in 1985 and sponsored 14 federal demonstration projects across the country from 1988-91. CSP also funded consumer-operated centers for self-help research and consulting in Philadelphia Pa.

*(HHS  Publication  No.(SMA) 09-4454 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Printed 2009).

Recovery is possible for every individual

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