Friday, December 9, 2022

Comments by rcarr

Showing 6 of 6 comments.

  • Thanks for this thoughtful article about reviewing the peer specialist role. A recent article by the Executive Director of iNAPS suggested that all too often peer specialists are co-opted into being “clinical peer specialists.” Proper training and supervision for peer specialists may contribute to helping them resist falling into the medical trap. Would you be willing to have your article reprinted in our non-profit’s The Peer Bulletin Magazine”? We’d provide appropriate citation, author biographies, and send you a copy when published.

  • Solid ideas and they show how much this area has advanced. Years ago when my team was advocating to create peer support in schools, we encountered the most resistance from suicide professionals. They were worried that having discussions in classrooms about suicidal feelings and sharing experiences would lead to what they called then (and is often brought up now) as “contagion.” That is, talking about it will prompt others to take their own lives. We argued that having realistic options for empathy, relationships, and authentic safety would help youth find better ways to deal with their experienced feelings.

  • In the 1970’s the area that had the greatest use of peer support was in public schools. Thousands of programs were created by teachers and counselors where they recruited, trained, and provided supervision to high school students who wanted to help their peers deal with a variety of issues. Named “peer counseling” at first and later more likely “peer helping” or “peer assistance”. These programs spread to colleges, universities, community agencies, senior citizen groups, and the business world. Many of the programs became student-initiated peer programs or as you say “peer developed peer programs.”

    The reason I mention this brief history is two-fold. One, many people engaged in mental health peer work are not aware of the extensive development of peer programs in schools, often because the terms used to describe the programs make them appear different or unrelated. The second reason centers of co-optation. This was also a concern during the original development of school-based programs. That is, students who were already using natural helping skills to provide listening, understanding, and support to their friends and members of their peer group were recruited to become “formal” peer helpers. Many of the training programs co-opted the student’s natural inclination to help into a more “professionalized” type of help, thus possibly weakening the natural help that existed within the teen’s social milieu.

  • Here’s a quote from a recent article about ECT in Visions magazine (

    “Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been, and continues to be, among the most effective treatments in psychiatry. Over 80% of those patients receiving ECT can expect significant improvement or recovery from their depressive symptoms.1 In comparison, improvement rate with either antidepressant medication or a course of cognitive psychotherapy is 55% to 60%.”

  • Many consumer/survivors who provide peer support recovery services have wondered about engaging a volunteer psychiatrist/psychologist or other clinical personnel as “supervisors” to help with boundary, ethical or skill-based issues. What qualities would psychiatrists serving in this position need. Generating a list might help peer specialists improve their ability to select the appropriate person to help them in their quest to help their peers.