Peer-Run Organizations

Peer-Run Organizations 2017-06-04T18:24:57+00:00

Please use the ‘toggles’ below to learn more about Peer-Run Organizations.

  • Independently owned, administratively controlled, and managed by mental health consumers
  • Autonomous—all decisions are made by the program
  • Accountable—responsibility for decisions rests with the program
  • Consumer-governed—at least 51% of the governance board consists of mental health consumers
  • Peer workers—staff and management are people who have received mental health services

Peer-Run Organizations have different names:

  • Consumer-Operated Services
  • Consumer-Operated Service Program (COSP)
  • Consumer-run organizations
  • Peer support programs
  • Peer services
  • Peer service agencies

Peer-Run Organizations are unique:

  • Peer-Run Organizations are not simply mental health services delivered by consumers.
  • They have a different worldview, structure and approach to “helping” than traditional treatment services.
  • The bedrock of peer service philosophy and practice is that:
    • People with psychiatric difficulties can and do recover, living meaningful lives.
    • Peers can help one another with the recovery process in ways that professionals cannot.

  • Mutual support
  • Community building
  • System advocacy
  • Service provision

Peer-Run Organizations can include:

  • Drop-in centers
  • Peer counseling
  • Structured educational or support groups
  • Crisis response and respite
  • Information and education

  • Advocacy
  • Assistance with basic needs or benefits
  • Help with housing, employment, or education
  • Social and recreational opportunities
  • Arts and expression

  • They help individuals see what is possible for themselves and for others.
  • They can help people see that recovery is real and possible.
  • They can see it in people surrounding them.

Peer-Run Organizations help people:

  • Learn about recovery
  • Take on new roles or responsibilities
  • Discover new things about themselves
  • Think differently about themselves, their lives, and their future
  • Make new friends
  • Develop personal support networks
  • Learn better ways to handle problems
  • Generate hope
  • Increase a sense of well-being

  • Greater levels of independence, empowerment, and self-esteem
  • Improved sense that participants can make their own decisions, solve problems, and help others
  • Improved quality of life
  • Increases in social support, employment skills, education 

 

Key findings from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) peer-run service demonstration projects, 1988-1992

  • What is the evidence?
  • Higher use of problem-centered coping skills
  • Use more coping strategies
  • Achieve more education
  • Score higher in social functioning
  • Higher ratings for hopefulness and self-efficacy

COSP Multisite Research Initiative 1998–2006

  • Largest and most rigorous study of Peer-Run Organizations to date
  • Studied several models of peer-operated services around the country
  • Key question: Are Consumer-Operated Services effective (as an adjunct to traditional services) in improving the outcomes of adults with serious mental illnesses?
  • Key findings:
    • Participation in Peer-Run Organizations increases the sense of overall well-being by building hope, empowerment, and social connectedness.
    • Higher participation leads to a greater increase in sense of well-being.
    • Positive effects are not limited to one program type or model.
  • Conclusion:
    • As an adjunct to the mental health treatment system, Peer-Run Organizations are essential in helping consumers recover and live meaningful lives in the community.

  • Consumer control
  • Membership-run
  • Participatory leadership
  • Voluntary participation
  • Sense of physical and emotional safety

  • People can and do recover from psychiatric difficulties
  • To help others is to also help one’s self
  • Choice, empowerment, and responsibility
  • Acceptance and respect for diversity
  • Reciprocity and mutuality in relationships
  • Social action 

  • Peer support through relationships and informal and structured interactions
  • Interactive decision-making
  • Meaningful roles and opportunities for everyone
  • Peer mentoring and teaching

  • Federal sources:
    • Mental health block grants
    • Grant programs through SAMHSA and other federal agencies (Veterans Administration, Housing and Urban Development, etc.)
    • Medicaid
  • State and local sources:
    • General funds; tax levies
    • Mental health authorities and other service entities
    • Community reinvestment and redevelopment
  • Private sources:
    • Contracts with managed care organizations
    • Foundation grants
    • Charity groups and nonprofit organizations
    • Faith-based organizations
  • Enterprise:
    • Fundraising events and campaigns
    • Entrepreneurial ventures or small business enterprises
    • Contracts with various organizations
    • Consulting
    • Training
    • Evaluation 

  • Consumer benefits:
    • Well-being
    • Recovery
    • Community-building
    • Empowerment
    • Enhancements/alternatives
  • Mental health system benefits:
    • Enriched service choice and array
    • Expanded availability
    • Expanded access
    • Reaching underserved persons
    • Preserving services
    • Value
  • Community benefits:
    • Community education and “de-stigmatization”
    • Collaborative networks
    • Public health promotion
    • Energizing community

  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Urban, suburban, and rural

  • Peer-Run Organizations are found in many different kinds of communities.
  • There are emerging examples of Peer-Run Organizations are tailored to specific cultural communities or language groups. 

  • Clarify roles and relationships.
  • Use straightforward application and contract mechanisms.
  • Ensure technical assistance, training, and active field-based mentorship.
  • Establish appropriate accountability and quality assurance practices.
  • Clarify roles and relationships.
  • Negotiate “Letters of Agreement” upfront.
  • Expect quality.
  • Design pathways for growth and development.
  • Consider sustainability.

Summary

  • Recovery is real; claim it for yourself.
  • Support or join consumer-operated services.