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Common 12 Values of Peer Specialists

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Pi is approximately 3.14. E in Math is 2.718. X in Algebra is not known yet or is often called a variable or sometimes simply named, unknown. No, I am not going to write about mathematical equations or how a singular letter symbolizes something else.

For my reference purposes, they are all values, but this is not the form of value going to be discussed here and now.

Values come in various incarnations. In some situations, values mean an adequate return for goods, services and money exchanged. The example above it denotes a numerical quantity that is assigned or found by a calculation or measurement. Throughout this article, we will be talking about values as it relates to a person, especially peer specialists.

Let us begin by considering a value as someone or something to be important and beneficial plus having a high opinion of. Each individual has their unique value and value system based on environment and culture. Later in life, one’s values are altered by work and relationships.

However, many times we use our intrinsic knowledge to keep and use our earlier values. For the values of peer specialists like myself, meaning, and use are slightly different.

By sharing our own lived experiences and practical guidelines, peer supporters or peer specialists help to develop our own goals. In addition, we create strategies for self-empowerment and take concrete steps towards building and fulfilling self-determined lives.

Furthermore, our personal experiences can foster meaningful connections and a deeper sense of understanding.

According to Shery Mead, author of  Intentional Peer Support, said: ‘Peer support is the process of giving and receiving encouragement and assistance in long-term recovery. Peers offer emotional support, share knowledge, teach skills, provide practical assistance, and connect people with resources, opportunities, communities of support and other people.’

The National Ethical Guidelines and Practice Standards and National Practice Guidelines for Peer supporters gave us these 12 values of certified peer specialists.

  • voluntary
  • hopeful
  • open-minded
  • empathetic
  • respectful
  • facilitate change
  • honest and direct
  • mutual and reciprocal
  • equally shared power
  • strengths-focused
  • transparent
  • person-driven

Most state peer specialist agencies around the US have adopted some or all of these values and put them into their ethics. The majority of these agencies state the basic value of peer support is that people freely choose to participate. It is for people who want to be involved, not people who have been told they need it or who have been pressured to attend.

Many peer specialists in Canada use a similar value system. Courtesy of peer support Canada these are the core values that are used.

  • hope and recovery
  • empathise and equal relationships
  • self-determination
  • dignity, respect, and social inclusion
  • integrity, authenticity, and trust
  • health and wellness
  • lifelong learning and personal growth

Young peer specialists (generally under 30), have slightly different values and treat others similarly. They help assist children and adolescents to feel comfortable, understood and responsible.

In addition, younger peer specialists teach youth decision-making skills to aid in combat negative peer pressure and provide education that suits their needs.

Around the globe, the number of older adults (generally over 60), is ever-increasing, and interventions with peer specialists are growing exponentially as well. Elderly individuals have their values and use interventions as a way to cope with their advanced age.

These interventions include the use of peer companionship (older adults that are matched with the same group). Peer companions aim to reduce loneliness and social isolation plus aid seniors to remain independent in their communities.

Also, peer specialists are providing support with housing, navigating both the physical health plus mental health insurance spectrum and provider information and services.

Facilitating and attending support groups increases our values. This is a good way to begin because everyone is equal. Generally, a peer group head knows how to build people up, and employing those strengths is a great asset.

Mutual exchange of ideas of strategies to cope with everyday issues and concerns about living with mental health issues is an important aspect in groups. Not only are these ideal components of successful therapy, but they can promote treatment through personal gain through empowerment and provide a unique technique of recovery.

Peer specialists like myself can be an important element of human society. Our values are ever-growing and we are in more facets of the world. Yes, we make mistakes, like everyone, because we are human beings. People suffering from any kind of mental wellness, deserve a chance.

Howard Diamond is a certified peer specialist from Long Island.


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