A peer worker is someone who has been successful in their recovery and has received formal training to provide non-clinical, strengths-based supports to people experiencing similar challenges. Key functions include assistance in daily management, social and emotional support, providing connections to clinical care and community resources, and sharing hope that recovery is possible.
People in recovery who work with peers often report improved social support and social functioning, self-esteem and confidence, sense of control and ability to bring about changes in their lives, and engagement in self-care and healthy behaviors as well as reduced hospital admission rates and longer community tenure. Families who work with peers can experience an increased sense of collaboration, decreased internalized blame, increased empowerment to take action, and decreased family isolation.
Peers and peer-run organizations can benefit from increased knowledge and skills, capacity, and infrastructure as they are integrated into behavioral health and healthcare settings and services. Training youth and young adults in peer leadership provides new opportunities to increase the impact of peer-driven recovery.