SAMHSA definition of Peer Support is as follows:
Peer to Peer Support helps people become and stay in the recovery process and helps reduce the likelihood of relapse. Because they are designed and delivered by peers who have been successful in the recovery process, they embody a powerful message of hope as well as a wealth of experiential knowledge. Peer to Peer Support can effectively extend the reach of treatment beyond the clinical setting and into the everyday environment of those seeking to achieve or sustain recovery.*
Peer to Peer Support is the overall promotion of Whole Health and well-being. Peer to Peer Support promotes socialization, recovery, self-advocacy, development of natural supports, and maintenance of community living skills for individuals.
Center of Excellence in Peer Support offers the following on Peer Support Services
Peer to Peer Support is a system of giving and receiving help founded on key principles of respect, shared responsibility, and mutual agreement of what is helpful. Peer to Peer Support is not based on psychiatric models and diagnostic criteria. It is about understanding another’s situation empathically through the shared experience of emotional and psychological pain. When people find affiliation, it is a deep, holistic understanding based on mutual experience where people are able to ‘be’ with each other without the constraints of traditional(expert/patient)relationship.
Informal Peer to Peer Support has always been provided by friends, family and peers. Formal Peer Support Services have been provided by grassroots community organizations and groups for more than 30 years. Over the last 10 years, however the sharing of lived experience has been increasingly recognized as an integral part of the recovery journey in Mental Health/Substance use and Co-Occurring challenges. Formal recognition has led to increasing numbers of paid peer support roles and a diverse range of terminology, services, activities, practices, protocols, research and resources.
These have been developed by individuals, community and special interest groups, health professionals, government departments and support agencies, all aiming to harness the power of Peer Support Services for consumers of Mental Health/Substance use and Co-Occurring challenges.**
Recovery is possible for every individual