Committing to Authentic Peer Support Services in Your Organization



  • Lisa Goodale, ACSW, LSW, Vice President, Training, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
  • Olga Wuerz, Peer Support Specialist, Dallas VA Medical Center


Discussion Forum:

Post training work:
  • April 2, 2012, 3-4:00 pm EST
  • May 7, 2012, 3-4:00 pm EST
  • July 9, 2012, 3-4:00 pm EST
  • September 10, 2012, 3-4:00 pm EST


New practices are being implemented to identify and engage a diverse group of consumers as authentic partners with clinicians and administrators in the design, evaluation and implementation of recovery oriented, person centered mental health services. One widely-recognized practice is implementation of peer support services, delivered by trained and certified peer specialists. Peers use the power of their recovery experiences to support, encourage, and model recovery from mental illness in ways that are specific to the needs of each individual – and from the perspective of someone who has been there. This is particularly of value when considering the culturally, ethnically, and racially diverse populations served by NNED members. Utilizing individuals with these experiences to deliver services is empowering for all parties, and research demonstrates its effectiveness. Peer support services are now widely recognized as effective and evidence-based. But implementing these services is not easy and often results in confusion and even strong conflict within organizations. Even those who clearly want to “do peer support right” find themselves questioning just what “right” is, as the new peer provider profession quickly grows. Lack of a widely-accepted model for quality implementation and supervision of peer support providers creates both conflict and opportunities for all those involved. This session will acquaint NNED members and participants with the elements of effective peer services and offer a framework for team-based implementation based on lessons from the field.


Teams from organizations that include representatives from the following:

  • Current/proposed peer support service providers
  • Current/proposed supervisors of peer support service providers
  • Organizational administrators

Participating organizations must commit to sending a team of individuals that includes representatives from at least two of these categories. Preference will be given to organizations including representatives from all three categories.


Participants will learn:

  • Why use of peer support services is essential to recovery-focused service delivery, and how these services improve outcomes
  • Specific types of peer support services 
  • Effective supervision of peer support services
  • Specific strategies for authentically implementing peer support services


For more information visit the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance website. 

Read more about NNEDLearn.