Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Power of Peer Support

Today’s  New York Times cover story, “After Drugs and Dark Times, Helping Others to Stand Back Up,” focused on peer support and its power to help people pull through recovery and get their lives back on track.

The mental health care system has long made use of former patients as counselors and the practice has been controversial, in part because doctors and caseworkers have questioned their effectiveness.  But recent research suggests that peer support can reduce costs, and in 2007, federal health officials ruled that states could bill for the services under Medicaid — if the state had a system in place to train and certify peer providers.

In the years since, “peer support has just exploded; I have been in this field for 25 years, and I have never seen anything happen so quickly,” said Larry Davidson, a mental health researcher at Yale. “Peers are living, breathing proof that recovery is possible, that it is real.”

To read the full NY Times article, click here.

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