Peer Support / Consumer Run Services / Peer Specialists


Responding to the expanding presence of both peer specialists and peer-run programming, a series of perspectives on the emerging roles of both peer specialists and peer-run programs in promoting community inclusion.

Young Professional Peer Support Strategies and Recommendations to Strengthen the Next Generation of Behavioral Health Leadership 

Young professional peer specialists are an important, and growing, part of the behavioral health workforce, but more needs to be done to maximize their contributions and engagement. This document offers young professional peer specialist perspectives on their experiences in the behavioral health system and what individuals, agencies, and systems can do to promote their impact, career development, and long-term connections.


Engaging Youth and Young Adults In and Outside of the Mental Health System through Youth-Informed Peer Support: A Factsheet for Peer Supporters and Allies


Tackling Mental Health Prejudice and Discrimination

Prejudice toward and discrimination against people with mental health conditions are longstanding major environmental barriers to the genuine community inclusion of individuals with mental health conditions. This document is designed to provide information on the types of anti-prejudice and anti-discrimination initiatives that these individuals, particularly those involved in peer-run programs, have successfully implemented in the past. The goal is to provide useful guidance for new peer-based efforts to tackle prejudice and discrimination.

Helping People with Mental Health Conditions Prepare for Disasters

Individuals with mental health conditions are as likely to be caught up in natural or man-made disasters as anyone else. Disasters—earthquakes or floods, shootings or riots, or other such natural or man-made events—often have terrible practical and emotional impacts, which can be minimized if people are better prepared: if they have thought ahead about what they can do, what they will need, and how they can respond if they are unlucky enough to face a disaster. This document is designed to increase the degree to which individuals with mental health conditions have planned to meet their needs if a disaster should strike. It also suggests that peer specialists can play an important role in helping the people they serve be better prepared.


Peer Facilitated Community Inclusion Tool Kit

Peers can play a critically important and unique role in supporting increased community participation among individuals with serious mental illnesses. Our toolkit is an excellent resource to help peers explore goals for increasing community participation with the consumers they work with. This toolkit includes various exercises and worksheets that peers can use to help individuals reflect on desired levels of community participation, explore existing supports and resources, and develop community participation goals. Special thanks to Matthew Federici, MS, CPRP, Executive Director of the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery, for his editorial contribution and support for this document. For more information on our partnership with the Copeland Center, please visit their website here.


Results of a National Survey of Certified Peer Specialists: Job Titles and Job Descriptions

The Temple University Collaborative surveyed 275 Certified Peer Specialists in paid CPS positions across the country, and presented here is a discussion of the wide variety of job titles that CPS staff work under and the varied descriptions – in the CPS respondents’ own words –of their job roles and responsibilities.


Reentry and Renewal

Reentry and Renewal: A review of peer-run organizations that serve individuals with behavioral health conditions and criminal justice involvement is a joint project of the College for Behavioral Health Leadership’s Peer Leader Interest Group, the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, Mental Health America, and the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion. Based on responses to a recent national survey, Reentry and Renewal highlights a dozen exemplary peer-run programs that serve individuals with both behavioral health conditions and criminal justice backgrounds. It not only provides recommendations for peer-run programs to improve upon effective supports for individuals with behavioral health conditions, but also spotlights needed policy change and the importance of expanded funding and research.


Peer Support Research Questions from the Perspective of iNAPS Attendees

Dr. Mark Salzer and Dr. Liz Thomas gave a workshop at the International Association of Peer Supporters (iNAPS) annual conference, held in Philadelphia in August 2016. Dr. Salzer presented on the current state of the peer support research literature, and Dr. Thomas facilitated a discussion about attendees’ perceptions of the most important research questions for the field. Attendees were highly engaged, generating a list of about 30 questions with topics ranging from the effectiveness of different types of peer support and the contexts that facilitate effectiveness to characteristics of the researchers and how the research is currently being used. This Center product was developed in an effort to disseminate these questions.


Supporters in Action: Interview with a Certified Peer Specialist

Centers for Independent Living are federally or state-funded, non-profit organizations for people with disabilities that provide information and referral, skills training, peer support, and advocacy to facilitate independent living and community participation. We recently sat down with a Certified Peer Specialist to talk about his role and experience working at a Center for Independent Living.


Centers for Independent Living Fact Sheets

Centers for Independent Living (CILs) are federally or state-funded, non-profit organizations that provide information and referral, skills training, peer support, and advocacy to facilitate independent living and community participation. The goal of CILs is to help people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate fully in their communities. We have created a document that highlights the services CILs offer and how individuals with psychiatric disabilities may benefit from utilizing services at CILs.


Into the Thick of Things: Connecting Consumers to Community Life

This 50-page compendium of three-dozen community inclusion initiatives currently provided by a national sample of consumer-run programs for people with psychiatric disabilities provides an inspiring set of alternatives that consumer-run agencies can use as a resource for transforming their own programs – with very helpful contact information for each spotlighted agency.


Helping People Connect to the Religious Congregations and Spiritual Groups of Their Choice: The Role of Peer Specialists

The Temple University Collaborative announces the publication of a monograph exploring the roles that peer specialists can play in helping the people they serve to connect to the mainstream religion congregations and spiritual groups of their choice. Part of a series of documents that explore the roles that peer specialists play promoting community inclusion of service recipients in a variety of life domains, this monograph explores core issues, describes peer specialist experiences from a national series of interviews, and offers six recommendations – all focused on helping interested consumers to connect or reconnect to the faith-based organizations and congregations of their choice


Certified Peer Specialist Training Programs

Developed by the Temple University Collaborative for the Peer Specialist Alliance of America, this document provides descriptions of a wide range of Certified Peer Specialist training programs in thirteen states, with an outline of competencies covered, eligibility criteria, and evaluative mechanisms – along with contact information for each training program.


Peer Support: Developing and Facilitating Self-Help Groups

This three-page guide, plus a resource list, contains practical information about planning and facilitating a peer-led self-help group meeting, with basic information on developing effective group meetings, a sample agenda, and facilitation tools that use active listening and conflict resolution to maintain a good meeting.


The 2006 Statewide Survey of Drop-In Centers in Pennsylvania

Drop In Centers for individuals with psychiatric disabilities were surveyed in 2006 for information on their operations and staff, level of consumer involvement, common activities, and operational challenges – providing an overall portrait of drop-in center programming and community inclusion activities in the Pennsylvania mental health system.










Collab Chats: Summer Institute with Rick Baron

Richard Baron from the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion discusses one of the half day events that will take place at the 2017 Summer Institute

The Role of Peer Specialists in Promoting Community Inclusion


This session offers peer specialists and their supervisors an opportunity to better understand the principles of community inclusion and the roles that peer specialists can play in promoting the full participation of the individuals they serve in community life.
National, state, and local consumer leaders will highlight their work with the Temple University Collaborative in the development and delivery of advanced training to better prepare peer specialists in meeting service recipient needs for support in attaining competitive employment, participating in the religious congregation of their choice, and responding to behavioral health crises.

Voices: Perspectives of Peer Specialists Working in Crisis Intervention Services

To help facilitate discussions in the training environment, PaPSC asked Temple to produce a brief video in which peer specialists currently involved in the delivery of crisis intervention services could talk about their jobs – specific responsibilities, the satisfactions and challenges associated with this crisis response work, their relationships with non-peer colleagues, and the ways in which they make use of their personal stories to help individuals better manage their emotional crises and then move forward with their lives. This video was a joint project of the Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition (PaPSC), the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion and the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services supported under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) 2015 Transformation Technology Initiative with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.

This important video is now available here. For information on the three-day training program itself – and the related trainee and trainer manuals developed by PaPSC – please visit PaPSC’s website at

Helping People Connect: The Role of Peer Specialists

On December 9th, 2015, Richard Baron, David Measel, and Rev. Ann Helmke sat down to have a national discussion on the role of peer specialists in helping people with psychiatric illnesses connect to religious congregations or spiritual groups. Topics discussed throughout the webinar included strategies to help peers become part of a religious group, experiences from peer specialists in connecting to religious groups, and what roles a peer can play.

Transcript available!