(March 2, 2022) Reprinted from the National Association of Peer Supporters (N.A.P.S.)
The National Association of Peer Supporters, representing the nation’s Peer Support Specialists, applauds President Biden and his Administration for bringing attention and solutions to the mental health of our nation.
“We must dramatically expand the supply, diversity, and cultural competency of our mental health and substance use disorder workforce – from psychiatrists to psychologists, peers to paraprofessionals – and increase both opportunity and incentive for them to practice in areas of highest need. Our crisis response infrastructure must also be strengthened to ensure that those facing acute behavioral health challenges can be seamlessly connected to necessary services. ”President Biden, State of the Union Address, March 1, 2022
Since 2004, the National Association of Peer Supporters has been on a mission to grow the peer support profession by promoting the inclusion of peer specialists throughout healthcare and other community systems. In this growth, we hold true to the intent of why peer support exists, not just to help people transform their lives but also to transform healthcare and other community systems. Through feedback from peer specialists across the country, we have gained consensus on a standard occupational classification definition of Peer Support Specialists as well as published National Practice Guidelines for Peer Support Specialists that have been recognized by the World Health Organization. We fully understand the systemic and societal issues associated with growing the peer support workforce in a way that upholds the values of peer support.
Peer support specialists are experts at looking beyond symptom management and stabilization to address the whole person. Our lived and living experiences of overcoming mental health and substance use conditions or supporting loved ones through their journey to health and wellness give us insider knowledge of the barriers and resources necessary for recovery. This includes recovery-oriented and trauma-informed treatment, access to non-clinical recovery supports and services, and welcoming communities that allow for full participation and are free of discrimination.
Presidential Administrations have a played critical role in elevating the value that people with lived and living experiences of mental health and substance conditions and their families have in the design, delivery, and evaluation of services. We celebrate the inclusion of the Peer Support Workforce in the Administration’s strategy. We stand ready to partner with the Biden administration on improving the health of all Americans including through policy related to the peer support profession.
View the press release from the White House here.