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Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island


Peer Support

What is a Peer Support Provider in a mental health setting?

A person with a mental health and /or co-occurring disorder, who has been trained to help others with these disorders identify and achieve specific life and recovery goals. A peer support provider is a person who is actively engaged in his/her own recovery. A peer support provider is a person who is hired to provide peer support services to others engaged in mental health treatment.

What does it mean to be “in recovery” from a mental health condition?

A person who is in recovery is able to talk about their condition candidly and offer descriptions of helpful tools and resources they have used to manage their own affairs in everyday living.  They are able to live in the community of their choice, independently and have a meaningful life that they are satisfied with. It often means that they haven’t been hospitalized or had legal problems as a result of their mental health condition for more than a year.  It doesn’t mean that they no longer have any symptoms or don’t need to take medication to manage their symptoms, but those symptoms no longer interfere with major functioning in most life activities in a significant way.

What do Peer Specialists do in their jobs?

  • They serve as role models by sharing their personal recovery stories, showing that recovery from mental illness is possible.
  • They teach goal setting, problem solving, symptom management skills and a variety of recovery tools.
  • They empower by helping others identify their strengths, supports, resources and skills.
  • They advocate by working to eliminate the stigma of mental illness.
  • They act as community liaisons by identifying social supports in the community and encouraging the expansion of local community resources.

Albin Joiner- Peer Support Specialist

Ext. 4234

James Buckley- Peer Support Specialist
Ext. 3987

Melanie Costa- Peer Support Specialist
Ext. 3883