Peer support services are delivered by individuals who have common life experiences with the people they are serving. Peers have “been there, done that.” People with disabilities – physical or intellectual disabilities, mental health and/or substance abuse issues – have a unique capacity to help each other based on a shared understanding of this experience. In self-help and mutual support, people offer this support, strength, and hope to their peers, which allows for personal growth, wellness promotion, and recovery.
Peers also provide assistance that promotes a sense of belonging within the community. The ability to contribute to and enjoy one’s community is key to recovery and well-being. Another critical component that peers provide is the development of self-efficacy through role modeling and assisting peers with ongoing recovery through mastery of experiences and finding meaning, purpose, and social connections in their lives.
Peer support values the expertise that comes from being a person with a disability.