This collection features resources to assist substance use disorder (SUD) treatment providers, health care systems, and community organizations create and manage peer support programs. Peer support professionals are individuals with lived experience of addiction and recovery. Research shows that peer support services are beneficial to helping individuals engage in treatment and maintain recovery from addiction. This collection includes general information about peer support; toolkits for creating and managing peer support service programs; resources designed to help establish effective supervision policies for peer support specialists; and information about peer support for youth, families experiencing SUD who are also involved in the child welfare system, and peer support programs in justice settings.
General information about peer support:
- A report defining peer recovery support services from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- A presentation slide deck that reviews the evidence for the effectiveness of peer support specialists providing mental health, substance use disorder, and family support from SAMHSA
- A report describing the core competencies for peer services from SAMHSA
- A link to SAMHSA’s webpage for peer support services
- A 2-page patient guide to peer specialist services and a Spanish language version
Toolkits for implementing peer support services produced by:
- The City of Philadelphia – focuses on integrating peers into existing programs
- The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services– uses the Stages of Change model to support integration of peers into existing programs
- The College for Behavioral Health Leadership – produced from a national convening of experts and includes guidance for peer support organizations to contract with managed care organizations
- The Veterans Health Administration – a leader in providing peer support services for beneficiaries
- The Unity Recovery Organization in Philadelphia – focuses on providing peer support through digital technology
- The Southern Plains Tribal Health Board – designed to assist indigenous communities in creating peer support service programs
Resources from SAMHSA to assist in establishing effective supervision policies for peer support service providers:
- 2-page summary of SAMHSA’s supervision framework
- Presentation slide set explaining SAMHSA’s supervision framework and the slide-deck with trainer notes
- A self-assessment for supervisors of peer support specialists
- A list of resources for the supervision of peer support specialists
Peer support in special populations including:
- Families affected by substance use disorder with involvement in the child welfare system
- Corrections systems including a report from SAMHSA and a brief overview of the New Mexico Peer Education Project where incarcerated individuals educate their peers about addiction, infectious diseases and other issues
If you have additional materials we should consider including in this collection, please see our call for submissions page.
This report defines what a peer support specialist is and describes the many different roles they can play in the substance use disorder and recovery process. Research has shown that recovery is facilitated by social support, and peer support specialists, who have personal lived experience of addiction, are uniquely qualified to provide that support.
This presentation slide deck briefly reviews the evidence for the effectiveness of peer support specialists who provide mental health, substance use disorder, and family and caregiver support.
This 7 page document describes the core competencies for peer workers in behavioral health services. It provides background information on peer services and recovery and defines 12 core competencies for peer support specialists:
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s (SAMHSA) web page contains information about peer support services. Included are details about what role peer support providers play in substance use disorder and mental health treatment and recovery services as well as links to additional SAMHSA peer support resources.
This interactive toolkit is intended to support organizations that are hiring (or planning to hire) peers into new support roles. The toolkit discusses considerations for preparing the organizational culture for adding peer support services, recruiting and hiring peer staff, creating effective service delivery of peer support services, and supporting, supervising, and retaining peer staff.
This toolkit contains extensive resources for providers who are interested in implementing peer support services, and for organizations that are in the process of implementing peer support services.
This toolkit for creating behavioral health peer support services was produced from the proceedings of a national convening of recognized peer mental health and addiction services agencies.
This toolkit details the work of implementing peer specialist services in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), one of the first health systems to incorporate peer specialist services throughout their behavioral health system.
This guide from the Unity Recovery organization in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania provides detailed information on engaging in peer recovery supports through digital technology.
The online toolkit for creating peer support programs for indigenous communities from the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board provides an overview of peer specialist services and describes the core roles and responsibilities peer specialists play in supporting treatment and recovery from substance use disorders in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities.
This 2-page summary of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s framework for supervision of peer support specialists describes the elements of SAMHSA’s tool-kit for peer support supervision, provides links to materials and recorded webinars, and offers guidance on how the materials can be used for group training or self-directed study.
This presentation slide set details the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s framework for supervising peer support services.
This presentation slide set including trainer notes details the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s framework for supervising peer support services.
This 1-page self-assessment for supervisors of peer support specialists is designed to help supervisors reflect on supervision practices and identify areas for additional training. Part of SAMHSA’s peer support supervision tool-kit.
This 1-page list details several valuable resources for the supervision of peer support specialists. Part of SAMHSA’s tool-kit for supervising peer support specialists.
This 2-pager provides an overview of peer specialist services for individuals receiving substance use disorder treatment or recovery services. The document defines peer support for these populations, describes services offered by peer specialists, and explains the benefits of peer recovery support services.
This 2-page Spanish language document provides an overview of peer specialist services for individuals receiving substance use disorder treatment or recovery services. The document defines peer support for these populations, describes services offered by peer specialists, and explains the benefits of peer recovery support services.
Addressing substance use disorder (SUD) and the trauma that often precedes it in youth is a priority for treatment providers, parents, caregivers, and community leaders. Many leaders have found that youth have a special ability and role to play in helping their peers. In this collection, CLOUD provides resources that focus on youth providing peer support to other youth and young adults.
Substance use disorder in families often leads to involvement in child welfare systems. Research shows that removal of a child from a family is traumatic for both the child and parents and can impede the parent’s journey to recovery. Many programs now employ family peer mentors or recovery specialists to work with the families on their treatment plan, connect parents and children to services and resources, and provide support as they go through a difficult process.
An overview of peer support services provided in the criminal justice setting from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Provides descriptions of the roles and responsibilities and key characteristics of different peer support roles, describes how to use the sequential intercept model to explore peer support roles in criminal justice settings, and presents best practices in recruiting, hiring and retaining peer support staff.
A brief overview of the New Mexico Peer Education Project which trains incarcerated individuals to educate their peers about addiction, infectious diseases such as hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus, and other health issues. This report is part of the Addiction Policy Forum’s spotlight series.