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Project Return Peer Support Network
Taking Charge Together!

What is Peer Support?

Though there is not one specific definition of Peer Support there tends to a broad understanding that in behavioral health settings Peer Support is when two or more people that have similar experience of extreme states gather together to learn, share, support and grow together. Peers do this through a combination of skills, knowledge and personal experience.


Peer support workers are people who have been successful in the recovery process who help others experiencing similar situations. Through shared understanding, respect, and mutual empowerment, peer support workers help people become and stay engaged in the recovery process and reduce the likelihood of relapse. Peer support services can effectively extend the reach of treatment beyond the clinical setting into the everyday environment of those seeking a successful, sustained recovery process.  See more information here.

Centers for Medicaid and Medicare

Yes, peer support is an evidence-based practice. In a letter dated August 15, 2007, the Director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations (a department of CMS) declared peer support services “an evidence-based mental health model of care which consists of a qualified peer support provider who assists individuals with their recovery from mental illness and substance use disorders.” The letter also outlined the authority of state Medicaid agencies to determine the service delivery system, medical necessity criteria, and to define the amount, duration, and scope of the services.  See more information here: Cost Effectiveness of Using Peers as Providers

Mental Health America

Peer support is an evidence-based practice for individuals with mental health conditions or challenges. Both quantitative and qualitative evidence indicate that peer support lowers the overall cost of mental health services by reducing re-hospitalization rates and days spent in inpatient services, increasing the use of outpatient services. Peer support improves quality of life, increases and improves engagement with services, and increases whole health and self-management.  See more information here: Evidence for Peer Support

What are peer respites?

A peer respite is a voluntary, short-term, overnight program that provides community-based, non-clinical crisis support to help people find new understanding and ways to move forward. It operates 24 hours per day in a homelike environment.

For more info about Peer Respites, visit:

Listen to an interview with Executive Director, Guyton Colantuono, done by Kerry Morrison of Heart Forward.