Maine Behavioral Healthcare (MBH) defines “Peer” as a person who has personally experienced challenges maintaining mental health, which may include recovery from substance use. A Peer Support Specialist is willing to self-identify on that basis and effectively shares about their personal lived experience in a way that fosters a healthy relationship, centered on each person exploring wellness, challenges, and new ways of thinking about life and challenges. It is required that a person has experienced mental health challenges as part of their life story to be employed as a Peer Support Specialist
Peer Support Specialists provide one-on-one support to people in the community, at their homes, and/or at the location where the peer works. Peer Support Specialists also provide group facilitation in various topics related to the setting in which they work, including topics such as wellness, recovery, boundaries, self-esteem, healthy relationships, etc. Peer Support Specialists support people in connecting to wellness/recovery opportunities in the community and accessing other community support services when appropriate. Peer Support Specialists do not provide clinical assessment or traditional service provider functions within the team. Peer Support Specialists use peer support to build mutually supportive relationships that allow each person to grow and learn together. Peer Support Specialists are required to have or obtain a certification in Intentional Peer Support. Peer Support Specialists manage conflict and disagreements according to agency and peer values.