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Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities Home Page
Evidence-Based Practice Initiatives
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275 E. Main Street 4WG
Frankfort, KY 40621
Phone: (502) 564-4456
Fax: (502) 564-9010

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Melissa Runyon
(502) 782-6187

Recovery and Peer Support

Recovery from mental illness is not only possible but expected. The President's New Freedom Commission Report (2003) envisioned "a future when everyone with a mental illness will recover, a future when mental illnesses can be prevented or cured, a future when mental illnesses are detected early, and a future when everyone with a mental illness at any stage of life has access to effective treatment and supports—essentials for living, working, learning, and participating fully in the community."

The report also outlines a plan to transform mental health care in America to promote a recovery-oriented service system. Peer support is an important element in this transformation process.

Peer support is the social and emotional support provided by persons with a mental health condition to others sharing a similar mental health condition to bring about a desired social or personal change.

Peer support is an emerging evidence-based practice that helps people to recover from a mental illness with assistance from someone who has experienced mental illness and recovery.

Peer support:

  • Is recovery-oriented and consumer driven.
  • Provides significant benefits to peers receiving services, peers providing services, and the mental health systems that utilize peer services.
  • Improves consumers' ability to live, work, learn and participate fully in their communities.
  • Is cost effective and results in fewer hospitalizations, reduced substance abuse, increased rates of employment, and improved illness management.
  • Creates a culture of recovery and improves the effectiveness of service outcomes.
  • Provides a mechanism for outreach to individuals who have been alienated from traditional services.

The Peer Specialist Service is a structured and scheduled therapeutic activity with an individual client or group, provided by a trained, self-identified consumer of mental health services. A Peer Specialist guides clients toward the identification and achievement of specific goals defined by the client and specified in the Treatment Plan.

To become qualified, a Kentucky Peer Specialist (KPS) completes a five-day training program and passes both a written and oral test. The job of a KPS is not to replace current clinical mental health staff but to offer additional and/or alternative options to help people in their efforts to recover.

The Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) supports consumer-driven recovery-oriented services. DBH provides Kentucky Peer Specialist Training opportunities and has developed a committee to review and analyze data to evaluate current program effectiveness.

DBH supports establishing a Medicaid-defined peer support service to be incorporated in the Community Mental Health Center Regulation and Incorporated Manual.

Use the Contact Information to obtain materials and further information.

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Last Updated 7/13/2013 9:59:49 AM
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