What is peer support?

Peer support focuses on empowerment and self-efficacy. For those who are suffering with their mental health, peer support offers an opportunity to experience social connectedness from the interactions. The benefits of this kind of work and connection are vast.

Black and White Drawing of Community Meeting at the Painted Brain

Art By Larry Rozner

A deep sense of belonging is initiated during this experience stemming directly from peer-to-peer connection and sharing of personal narratives. A crucial component of peer support is the search for every individual’s inner confidence. By seeking out people’s inner strengths, you can help them see a real desire to heal.


Peer support vs. Clinical support

One key point to recognize is that peer support is led by those who have at some point in their own lives have struggled with their own mental health. All group members in peer-to-peer meetings are essentially equal. This can feel different from direct clinical support because sometimes a professional clinician can hold too much power, making the client feel othered and helpless. 

A peer group leader likely has a better understanding of the struggles you may be going through because they personally have also battled with them. Essential to this process, is the inevitable aspect of empathy. Peer support provides genuine empathy while also being a role model for recovery through personal empowerment.

Silhouettes of People of Varying Identities


How can peer support prevent relapses?

Peer support, in its unique model, truly holds community members accountable. Peer support leaders help people make it easier to cope positively through direct support and can inspire those around them with their own lived experiences. This helps the individual build upon their own strengths and feel motivated. Peer support can also help an individual create a specific relapse prevention plan for themselves. Within this plan, they will discuss building tools around self-regulation, integration, self-knowledge, coping skills, change, awareness, support, and maintenance. 


Value of peers

The model of peer support brilliantly offers growth opportunities for both those in recovery who are hired to provide peer support as well as those who are currently struggling with their mental health. This situation is ideal because the client receives direct support from peers who can model self-care and help them navigate their challenges, while the peer counselors are employed working in a job that supports their own recovery by providing meaningful work to others with who they can deeply relate to. 



Peer Support Specialist Certification Training Available!

Painted Brain’s Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification Training program

Sign Up for Painted Brain’s Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification Training program


Since 2009, Painted Brain has been advocating for peer-driven services using the recovery model, and in September 2020 Senate Bill 803 was finally passed.

SB 803 recognizes the value of peer support.

Now, peer support services are Medi-Cal billable!

Painted Brain applied to become an approved training vendor for Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification in the state of California, and we’re pleased to announce that we are now an approved vendor!

For more information on how to get training, please sign up for our waitlist here.

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