How to Fix the Mental Health Workforce? Peer Counselors Are an Underutilized Resource


From The Seattle Times: “Nguyen’s work as a peer counselor — someone who has personal experience with mental health challenges or substance use and uses that expertise to support others — represents a growing niche in the mental health landscape. Peers build close connections by relating to people in a way clinicians don’t. And because peers don’t require the same level of schooling and licensure, they can get trained faster and start working, helping close the gaps for a behavioral health industry desperate for more staff.”



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  1. As a psychiatric survivor as well as a clinician, I have to warn–

    My ability to speak to people from my lived experience of the ‘mental health’ system is severely curtailed by institutional constraints. Although part of my own recovery involved getting off and staying far away from psychiatric drugs, sharing that part of my experience could put my job at risk, given the dominant view that chronic lifelong administration is absolutely 100% for everyone everywhere at all times necessary

    What is needed are not ‘peers’ being integrated into the current, profoundly flawed system, we’re better off asking if this system does any good at all, and if not how do we meet any need it purportedly meets some other way?

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