Peer Support/Consumer-Run Services/Peer Specialists

Peer Reviewed Articles

  • Salzer, M.S., Katz, J., Kidwell, B., Federici, M., & Ward-Colasante, C. (2009). “Pennsylvania Certified Peer Specialist Initiative: Training, Employment, and Work Satisfaction Outcomes.” Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 32, 293-297.
  • Salzer, M.S., Schwenk, E., & Brusilovskiy, E. (2010). “Certified Peer Specialist Roles and Activities: Results from a National Survey.” Psychiatric Services, 61, 520-523.
  • Salzer, M.S., & Kundra, L.B. (2010). “Liability Issues Associated With Referrals to Self-Help Groups.” Psychiatric Services, 61, 6-8.
  • Solomon, P. (2004). “Peer support/peer provider services: Underlying processes, benefits, and critical ingredients.” Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 27, 392-401.


Reentry and Renewal

Reentry and Renewal: A review of peer-run organizations that serve individuals with behavioral health conditions and criminal justice involvement is a joint project of the College for Behavioral Health Leadership’s Peer Leader Interest Group, the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, Mental Health America, and the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion. Based on responses to a recent national survey, Reentry and Renewal highlights a dozen exemplary peer-run programs that serve individuals with both behavioral health conditions and criminal justice backgrounds. It not only provides recommendations for peer-run programs to improve upon effective supports for individuals with behavioral health conditions, but also spotlights needed policy change and the importance of expanded funding and research.

Peer Support Research Questions from the Perspective of iNAPS Attendees

Dr. Mark Salzer and Dr. Liz Thomas gave a workshop at the International Association of Peer Supporters (iNAPS) annual conference, held in Philadelphia in August 2016. Dr. Salzer presented on the current state of the peer support research literature, and Dr. Thomas facilitated a discussion about attendees’ perceptions of the most important research questions for the field. Attendees were highly engaged, generating a list of about 30 questions with topics ranging from the effectiveness of different types of peer support and the contexts that facilitate effectiveness to characteristics of the researchers and how the research is currently being used. This Center product was developed in an effort to disseminate these questions.

Peer Facilitated Community Inclusion Tool Kit

Peers can play a critically important and unique role in supporting increased community participation among individuals with serious mental illness. Our toolkit is an excellent resource to help peers explore goals for increasing community participation with the consumers they work with. This toolkit includes various exercises and worksheets that peers can use to help individuals reflect on desired levels of community participation, explore existing supports and resources, and develop community participation goals. Special thanks to Matthew Federici, MS, CPRP, Executive Director of the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery, for his editorial contribution and support for this document. For more information on our partnership with the Copeland Center, please visit their website here.

Voices: Perspectives of Peer Specialists Working in Crisis Intervention Services

To help facilitate discussions in the training environment, PaPSC asked Temple to produce a brief video in which peer specialists currently involved in the delivery of crisis intervention services could talk about their jobs – specific responsibilities, the satisfactions and challenges associated with this crisis response work, their relationships with non-peer colleagues, and the ways in which they make use of their personal stories to help individuals better manage their emotional crises and then move forward with their lives. This video was a joint project of the Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition (PaPSC), the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion and the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services supported under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) 2015 Transformation Technology Initiative with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.

This important video is now available here. For information on the three-day training program itself – and the related trainee and trainer manuals developed by PaPSC –  please visit PaPSC’s website at or contact the PaPSC directly at

Interview with a Certified Peer Specialist

Centers for Independent Living are federally or state-funded, non-profit organizations for people with disabilities that provide information and referral, skills training, peer support, and advocacy to facilitate independent living and community participation. We recently sat down with a Certified Peer Specialist to talk about his role and experience working at a Center for Independent Living.

Centers for Independent Living Fact Sheets

Centers for Independent Living (CILs) are federally or state-funded, non-profit organizations that provide information and referral, skills training, peer support, and advocacy to facilitate independent living and community participation. The goal of CILs is to help people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate fully in their communities. We have created a document that highlights the services CILs offer and how individuals with psychiatric disabilities may benefit from utilizing services at CILs.

Into the Thick of Things: Connecting Consumers to Community Life

This 50-page compendium of three-dozen community inclusion initiatives currently provided by a national sample of consumer-run programs for people with psychiatric disabilities provides an inspiring set of alternatives that consumer-run agencies can use as a resource for transforming their own programs – with very helpful contact information for each spotlighted agency.

Helping People Connect to the Religious Congregations and Spiritual Groups of Their Choice: The Role of Peer Specialists

The Temple Collaborative announces the publication of a new monograph exploring the roles that peer specialists can play in helping the people they serve to connect to the mainstream religion congregations and spiritual groups of their choice.  Part of a series of documents that explore the roles that peer specialists play promoting community inclusion of service recipients in a variety of life domains, this monograph explores core issues, describes peer specialist experiences from a national series of interviews, and offers six recommendations – all focused on helping interested consumers to connect or reconnect to the faith-based organizations and congregations of their choice.

Certified Peer Specialist Training Programs

Developed by the Temple University Collaborative for the Peer Specialist Alliance of America, this document provides descriptions of a wide range of Certified Peer Specialist training programs in thirteen states, with an outline of competencies covered, eligibility criteria, and evaluative mechanisms – along with contact information for each training program.

Peer Support: Developing and Facilitating Self-Help Groups

This three-page guide, plus a resource list, contains practical information about planning and facilitating a peer-led self-help group meeting, with basic information on developing effective group meetings, a sample agenda, and facilitation tools that use active listening and conflict resolution to maintain a good meeting.

Results of a National Survey of Certified Peer Specialists: Job Titles and Job Descriptions

The Temple University Collaborative surveyed 275 Certified Peer Specialists in paid CPS positions across the country, and presented here is a discussion of the wide variety of job titles that CPS staff work under and the varied descriptions – in the CPS respondents’ own words – of their job roles and responsibilities.

The 2006 Statewide Survey of Drop-In Centers in Pennsylvania

Drop In Centers for individuals with psychiatric disabilities were surveyed in 2006 for information on their operations and staff, level of consumer involvement, common activities, and operational challenges – providing an overall portrait of drop-in center programming and community inclusion activities in the Pennsylvania mental health system.