If you have been tuning in to our blog, you probably know that we talk about peer support a lot and how it can be applied to issues like PTSD and other mental health conditions; but today, we are going to discuss the role that peers support specialists play in society.
What Does a Peer Support Specialist Do?
Peer support specialists are people who work in the mental health industry that have had personal experiences with mental health conditions ranging from PTSD to addiction. Peer support specialists go through specialized training, much like the training courses we offer here at Peer Support Central, that enables them to assist or counsel others who are experiencing the conditions that they too once went through.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a clients first experience with a peer support specialist is often as simple as a proactive conversation about what the client wants to accomplish, and why the client is struggling to reach their goals. This is a good opportunity for the peer support specialist to assess the need of their client and gauge the amount of support and aid that their client will need. In the beginning of the process, the peer support specialist is almost a crutch, or support, for their client.
After the initial visit, it is common for peer support specialists to begin scheduling meetings to discuss how to overcome adversity with their client, and how to reach their goals. During these sessions, the primary focus is for the peer support specialist to help their client build a personal support plan by setting up activities like group counseling, one-on-one mentoring, or even assist in finding employment for the client. Essentially, this step in the peer support specialist process is helping their client “get their feet wet” in any situation or places that the client may have trouble being comfortable in. Easing someone slowly into facing their fears can be beneficial for that person to someday become comfortable in places or situations that they previously could not be comfortable in.
The amount of time that a peer support specialist may spend with a particular client can range from a couple of weeks to a few months depending on the severity of their client’s mental health conditions. The longevity of time that a peer support specialist spends with their clients are affected, for the most part, by how fast that the client can reach their goals. Essentially, it is critical as a peer support specialist to enable and encourage their client to reach their goals by continuously supporting and reassuring them
A peer support specialists must be extremely flexible to tailor to their client’s needs and may even be expected to help their clients at primary care provider offices, hospitals, recovery centers, as well as keep in touch via impersonal forms of communication like phone or video calls. Being a peer support specialist is not for everyone, as it can be described as a hard, but rewarding profession.
If becoming a peer support specialist is something that interests you, check out our peer support training and development courses online with Peer Support central.
Training and Development Courses with Peer Support Central
At Peer Support Central, we understand the power of peer support and see it as a necessity to have peer support specialists who can support first responders, members of the military, and civilians that are suffering from mental health issues like PTSD. Join us and take a course on leadership training, critical incident and stress management training, or peer support specialist training today and become part of the good in this world. There are people out there that could use the help, and you could be the person to help them.