Peer Support Specialists

Highlighted Resource

Peer Support Roles Across the Sequential Intercept Model

Produced By: Policy Research Associates (PRA)

Description: Peer Support Roles Across the Sequential Intercept Model is a two-page tool that provides an overview of how people with lived experience, or peers, can provide support to individuals in contact with the criminal justice system at each intercept of the Sequential Intercept Model.

Keywords: Peer support specialists; Sequential Intercept Model (SIM)

Advancing the Work of Peer Support Specialists in Behavioral Health-Criminal Justice Programming (2021)

Produced By: The Council of State Governments Justice Center

Supported By: Bureau of Justice Assistance 
Description: Peer support specialists are often asked to draw on their lived experience with behavioral health conditions and criminal justice involvement to support participants of behavioral health-criminal justice programs. This experience allows them to offer inspiration and model positive behaviors, as well as connect people to needed supports and lead recovery groups, among other benefits. At the same time, implementation challenges can limit their effectiveness. The Council of State Governments Justice Center interviewed peers who work with three Justice and Mental Health Collaboration grantee programs to better understand how to overcome these challenges. This brief highlights four key strategies gleaned from these interviews, that can be used to advance the work of peer support specialists.

Keywords: Peer support specialists

Other Resources

From Development to Success: Integrating the Lived Experience in Crisis Response (2021) - Webinar

Produced By: The Council of State Governments Justice Center; University of Cincinnati

Supported By; Bureau of Justice Assistance 

Description: Peers, people with disabilities (self-advocates), and people who live with behavioral health needs are essential to the operations of any service delivery system. From systems planning and development, to providing services and support, their firsthand knowledge and experience is invaluable. Crisis response models and related training, such as Crisis Intervention Teams, police-mental health collaborations, Pathways to Justice, and the Crisis NOW model, emphasize the importance of including people with lived experience to maximize and ensure program success. During this session, you will hear from communities that are working to include people with lived experience and disabilities in all aspects of their work. These communities are prioritizing peers and self-advocates for roles in leadership, incorporating their lived experience into training and service provision, and supporting and sustaining the involvement of peers, self-advocates, and others with lived experience.

Keywords: lived experience; peers

Supporting Peers Providing Services at Intercept 0 (2021) - Webinar

Produced By: GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation

Supported By: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Description: This webinar presents new innovations from the field to support Peers who respond to mental and substance use crises.

Keywords: Peer support specialists; Sequential Intercept Model (SIM)

TA Coalition Webinar: Peer Specialists and Police as Partners Preventing Behavioral Health Crisis

Produced By: Mental Health America

Supported By: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Description: Webinar participants can expect to learn about police acting as partners in behavioral health crises and learn about existing programs in states. 

Keywords: behavioral health; crisis; prevention; peer support specialists

Ten Ways to Engage People Affected by Mental Illness in Your Community (2015)

Produced By: National Association of Counties; Council of State Governments Justice Center; American Psychiatric Association Foundation

Supported By: Bureau of Justice Assistance

Description: This resource provide ten ways that county leaders and partners can broadly engage individuals or family members in the Stepping Up Initiative. 

Keywords: planning; lived experience; Crisis Intervention Team (CIT); peers

City & County Leadership to Reduce the Use of Jails: Engaging Peers in Jail Use Reduction Strategies

Produced By: National League of Cities; Policy Research, Inc.

Supported By: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Description: Local leaders working toward goals as diverse as reducing jail use, addressing behavioral health needs, and reducing homelessness may want to consider utilizing a promising group: peer support workers. This introductory resource brief highlights some of the policy and funding opportunities city and county leaders can explore to build on the success of early examples of communities that have utilized peer support as part of their continuum of care and in justice-related interventions. Peer support has been applied and evaluated for decades within behavioral health recovery and treatment. Engagement of peers has been shown to lower the cost of services, reduce hospitalization rates, and increase quality of life outcomes. While the efficacy of peer support has been proven within the behavioral health community, there is also great opportunity for the utilization of peers within the criminal justice system.

Keywords: Peer support specialists; jail reduction

"Left alone when the cops go home: evaluating a post-mental health crisis assistance program" (2014)

Produced By: Luke Bonkiewicz, Alan M. Green, Kasey Moyer, and Joseph Wright

Description: The purpose of this paper is to evaluate a police department’s Post-Crisis Assistance Program (PCAP) for consumers who experienced a police-abated mental health crisis. The authors analyzed three questions: First, does PCAP reduce a consumer’s future mental health calls for service (CFS)? Second, does PCAP reduce a consumer’s odds of being arrested? Third, does PCAP reduce the odds of a consumer being taken into emergency protective custody (EPC)?

Keywords: Post-Crisis Assistance Program (PCAP); evaluation; mental health assistance program; peer support specialists