National Recovery Month: A Spotlight on Peer Recovery Specialists

September 29th, 2020 | Viewpoint

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There are many paths to recovery from substance use/dependency: for some people it may be clinical intervention; for others it’s personalized support through a peer recovery specialist (PRS) and/or a 12-step program. Peer recovery specialists are formally trained people who have personal experience with mental illness and/or substance abuse, putting them in a unique position to promote mind-body recovery and resiliency.

This National Recovery Month, we’re highlighting how PRSs fill a gap in behavioral health settings: in addition to being less expensive than clinical interventions, it is a sustainable model that supports the recovery of both the PRSs and the peers with whom they work.

“Recovery is on-going. A PRS can help others improve their quality of life.” -Rhode Island PRS

JSI has been working with organizations that provide training and resources for PRSs and collecting data to find ways to help people in recovery gain employment. We have also created a guide for specialists in Rhode Island on how to receive certifications, developed in collaboration with people who have taken the exam.

In the behavioral health field, especially as related to the opioid epidemic, peer recovery support offers participants strength and hope. It is effective because it pairs people who have mental illness and/or substance disorder with people who understand what they are going through and who have come through it themselves. It gives people allies on their journey to recovery and a sense of belonging to a positive community.

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