The Power of Peer Specialists

Peer specialists are trained professionals in the behavioral health field who have personal experience with substance use disorder. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that a peer specialist (also known as a certified peer specialist, peer support specialist, recovery coach) is a person who uses his or her lived experience of recovery from mental illness and/or addiction, plus skills learned in formal training, to deliver services in behavioral health settings to promote mind-body recovery and resiliency.

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Studies have found that peer support significantly improves recovery outcomes including decreased morbidity and mortality, reduced use of emergency services, improved self-reported health status, and self-care skills, and improved quality of life. Because of this, peer support is now the fastest growing service for people in recovery.

Since 2000, over 15,000 peer specialists have been trained in the United States. With the number of peer specialists continuing to grow,  we wanted to hear how specialists are impacting those working in the recovery field. We spoke with Ivy, the Director of Program Housing for Perspectives, and asked her how working with peer specialists has impacted her team.

“As a Program Director working in the recovery field,” said Ivy, “I know that peer recovery specialists are invaluable to the work we do. They are able to connect to the people we serve in a more intimate and meaningful way than any other staff, due to the nature of the peer position and the shared experience that peer recovery specialists have with the people we serve. Working with peer recovery specialists is a way that I can honor the specific and invaluable wisdom that people in active recovery possess. No amount of formal education can teach a person how to live a life of recovery—only others who have experienced recovery truly understand that! It’s a pleasure to work side by side with peer recovery specialists. They enrich this work immensely.”

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At Recovree, we see the immense value in peer support specialists and the impact they are making on the recovery community. Our products support specialists so they can improve efficiencies, manage time, have a deeper understanding of their clients' needs and utilize best practices. We want peer specialists to spend less time on administrative tasks and more quality time with their patients.

As someone who has first experience using Recovree, Ivy added, “Also, using the Recoveree is a wonderful tool for our peer support specialists. We have seen an increase in sobriety and mental health awareness with the people who consistently use the app.”