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Peer-to-Peer Support

What is Peer Support?

  • Peer support encompasses a range of activities and interactions between people who share similar experiences of being diagnosed with mental health conditions, substance use disorders, or both.  This relationship between a peer support worker and person in or seeking recovery promotes connection and inspires hope.  Peer support offers principled and ethical practices.  By sharing their own lived experience and practical guidance, peer support workers help people to develop their own goals, create strategies for self-empowerment, and take concrete steps towards building fulfilling, self-determined lives for themselves.

  • A peer support worker is someone with the lived experience of recovery from a mental health condition, substance use disorder, or both.  They provide support to others by sharing their own experience, strength, and hope.  They provide non-clinical, strengths-based support.  The role of a peer support worker complements but does not duplicate or replace the roles of therapists, case managers, and other members of a treatment team.   Peer support workers may be referred to by different names depending upon the setting in which they practice.  Common titles include peer specialists, peer recovery coaches, peer advocates, and peer recovery support specialists.  Peer support workers inspire hope that people can and do recover; aid in stamping out sigma associated with having a mental health condition or substance use disorder; provide self-help education and link people to tools and resources; and support people in identifying their goals, hopes, and dreams, and creating a roadmap for getting there.  Peer support workers can help break down barriers of experience and understanding, as well as assist in getting the wants and needs met of their peers.  The peer support worker’s role is to assist people with finding and following their own recovery paths, without judgment, expectation, rules, or requirements.  Peer support workers practice in a range of settings, including peer-run organizations, recovery community centers, recovery residences, drug courts and other criminal justice settings, hospital emergency departments, child welfare agencies, homeless shelters, and behavioral health and primary care settings. In addition to providing the many types of assistance encompassed in the peer support role, they conduct a variety of outreach and engagement activities.


What is a Certified Peer Specialist?

A Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) is an individual with lived mental health experience who has been trained and certified in the state of Pennsylvania on how to assist others in recovery and wellness. A certified peer specialist performs a wide variety of tasks to assist individuals to regain control over their lives and their own recovery and wellness process.

What Services do Certified Peer Specialist Provide?

  • Assisting in the development of strengths-based individual goals
  • Serving as an advocate, mentor, or facilitator for resolution of issues that a peer is unable to resolve on their own
  • Developing community supports
  • Providing education on ways to maintain personal wellness and recovery
  • Providing education on navigating the mental health system


What is a Certified Recovery Specialist? 

The Recovery Specialist is an individual with personal, lived experience of their own recovery. By offering insight into the recovery process, Recovery Specialists are able to share a unique perspective with those with similar life experiences. Recovery Specialists accept and agree that their experience as a person in recovery from a substance use disorder will be known by their colleagues, individuals served, and others with whom they may share that they have achieved this credential.

The Recovery Specialist is a role model, mentor, advocate, and motivator. Recovery Specialists advocate for the individual, the recovery system, recovery-oriented services and assist to identify and reduce stigma. They advocate to eliminate barriers, increase natural supports and build community. Services provided by the Recovery Specialist substantially improve an individual’s and family’s ability to sustain recovery and wellness. 


What is a Certified Family Recovery Specialist? 

The Certified Family Recovery Specialist is an individual who is an adult family member or loved one who has experienced their own recovery after being impacted by a loved one’s substance use disorder.  The training is designed to meet the current educational requirements for the CFRS credentials set forth by the Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB). 

For more information on Peer Support or the Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB), please visit:

Peer Support Groups

Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (for family and person with MI)

  • First Presbyterian Church Cedar Crest Blvd. and
  •  Tilghman St. Allentown, PA
  • Every Wednesday, 7 PM-9 PM)

Peer 2 Peer Group
  • Weekly Support Group for those experiencing mental illness and their families & friends - Haven House 1411 Union Boulevard Allentown, PA 18109
    610-433-6181 (Ext 142) (Every Wednesday 3:30-5:00 pm)

My Life Program for Youth Ages 13 to 23

Peer 2 Peer Support

Reflections Whole-Life Recovery Community - Short-term 24-hour peer-to-peer support in a homelike environment for those experiencing overwhelming distress
1360 Main Street Hellertown, PA 18055 | 610-748-1011

Website for NAMI support Groups
Support Groups | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness


2551 Walnut Street 

Harrisburg, PA 17103

Office Phone:  717.221.1022

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Lifeline (

988 Partner Toolkit

Call or Text 9-8-8

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project | For Young LGBTQ Lives


Youth America Hotline

Youth America Hotline (YAH) | Greater Longview United Way


988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Lifeline (

988 Partner Toolkit

Call or Text 9-8-8

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