Why should peer specialists be involved in conducting research?
Peer providers (peer specialists, family partners, and recovery coaches) have lived experience with their own or a family member’s behavioral health challenges. After completing required training, they are employed to provide peer support to others who are receiving services in the public mental health or substance use treatment system. They are a vital part of the behavioral health workforce and evidence of their effectiveness is growing. Researchers at TIEMH have been evaluating initiatives involving peer providers, particularly peer specialists and family partners, since 2009. To date, our work has focused on evaluation of peer provider training and certification, peer provider employment outcomes, peer service outcomes, learning communities to support peer specialist hiring and recovery orientation of organizations, Medicaid billing by peer specialists in local mental health authorities, consumer operated service providers and local mental health authorities, peer specialist integration, and reviewing peer specialist training and certification programs nationwide. Our work aims to understand how integration of the peer workforce is occurring, how it can be improved, and determining how peer providers and the services they provide are impacting individual and system outcomes. To read more about our work, click on the links below.