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Peer Support

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BHS205 Lesson 8 Peer Support:
The general term peer support has the same meaning in both mental health and substance abuse treatment. Peer support can be defined as the help and support that people with lived experience of a mental illness or a substance addiction are able to give to another. Recovery, whether from substance abuse or a mental illness, is a social process. Part of recovery is for the individual to reintegrate into the community and return to a normal social life. According to Mental Health America (MHA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), peer support is an essential element to the recovery process. People are often more willing to share their issues, concerns, hopes and dreams with a peer specialist than with clinical staff. Peer specialists have learned to recognize triggers and early warning signs, how to counteract the negative impact of stress and create plans to care for themselves. They are then able to pass these skills on to others who are in the position that they were once in themselves.
Peer mental health support uses empathy and empowerment to help support and inspire an individual’s recovery. Peer support helps individuals suffering from mental illnesses feel less isolated and alone. A peer support specialist, for an individual with a mental illness, are often recovering from their own mental illness. This allows them to have a better understanding of what the individual they are helping is feeling and going through. Peer support can help create a sense of hope in the individual who is seeking support because the individual who is helping them has been through the same things that they are going through. Peer specialists have a better understanding of what it takes to integrate medical care with counseling and wellness in order to help others recover from their mental illnesses and respond to everyday challenges.
Everyone in recovery for substance addiction needs the support from others who believe in them. Who better to help than those who understand on a personal level what it means to be an addict. Peer support for substance addiction are delivered by individuals who, themselves, have experiences substance addiction and recovery. They can provide hope to those in recovery and help them stay in recovery which would reduce the chances of relapse. Peer support specialists that help with substance addiction know what it is like to be an addict, to struggle with the daily pressures and stress and to overcome the guilt, sadness and confusion associated with substance abuse. They were able to get through recovery successfully so they can help others. The SAMHSA helped fund the Recovery Community Services Program (RCSP). The RCSP projects help substance addicts who are in recovery relearn or learn common skills to help them adjust to normal sober life. Recovery support centers can provide computer training, job interviewing skills training, resume writing, legal assistance, parenting skills training, 12 step meetings, and a safe sober place to socialize.…...

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