Peer Support
Peers Walk Alongside You on Your Path to Recovery

peers talking together at the riverside center

In all areas of life—no matter your background—we know relationships are important to well-being. We call friends in hard times, visit family members when they aren’t feeling well, and often see support groups for individuals who have experienced similar challenges like chronic disease or loss of a loved one. In the same way that we reach out to someone who we think will understand, peer support specialists can provide that understanding during a time when many feel alienated and hopeless. They provide an important connection and hope that recovery is possible.

What do Peer Support Specialist do?

Peer support specialist model recovery, teach skills and offer supports to help people experiencing mental health challenges or substance use disorders lead meaningful lives in the community. Peer support specialists promote recovery; enhance hope and social networking through role modeling and activation; and support existing treatment with education, empowerment, and aid in systems navigation.

Peer supporters are people who use their experience of recovery from mental health or substance use disorders to support others in recovery. Combined with skills learned in formal training, their experience and institutional knowledge put them in a unique position to offer support.

Why are peer support services important?

Peer support services have been shown to:

  • Reduce symptoms and hospitalizations
  • Increase social support and participation in the community
  • Decrease lengths of hospital stays
  • Improve well-being
  • Encourage more thorough and longer-lasting recoveries

Strengths of Peer Support 

Peers bring unique strengths and qualities to your recovery. These strengths include:

  • Personal experience with whole health recovery that includes addressing wellness of both mind and body
  • Insight into the experience of internalized stigma and how to address it
  • Compassion and commitment to helping others, rooted in a sense of gratitude
  • Can take away the “you do not know what it’s like” excuse
  • Experience of moving from hopelessness to hope-filled
  • In a unique position to develop a relationship of trust, which is especially helpful in working with people in trauma recovery
  • A developed skill in monitoring their illness and self-managing their lives holistically

We believe in the power of peers. At times our care team will recommend you work with our peer support specialists – another tool to provide you hope and help you reach your wellness goals.


riversidecenterThe Riverside Center

The Riverside Center is a peer-run drop in center. This home-like space provides opportunities for people 18 and over to gather for social events, to talk with friends, and for support services, like Dual Diagnosis (AA for people with mental illness).

Curious if The Riverside Center could benefit you? Talk with your mental health professional and they can provide you with more information on how to connect with peers at The Riverside Center.