Case Study

Peer-to-Peer Programs

Tags: Health

San Francisco City and County, Calif.

The City and County of San Francisco Behavioral Health Services (BHS) programs has peer specialists integrated into the service delivery model. Strengths-based and culturally congruent Peer-to-Peer Programs help peer specialists to be a part of a larger infrastructure to better utilize resources, increase access to advancement opportunities, increase education opportunities and find strength within a larger support system. A peer is defined as an individual with personal lived experience who is a consumer of behavioral health services, a former consumer or a family member of a consumer. Peer-to-Peer Programs encourage peers to utilize their lived experience, when appropriate and at the discretion of the peer, in peer-to-peer settings to benefit the wellness and recovery of the client(s) being served. Peers conduct outreach, one-on-one peer counseling, group peer counseling and/or system navigation to users of residential, community, outpatient or hospital settings within the Department of Public Health (SFDPH). These individuals may receive supportive training through a BHS peer certification training program, have demonstrated proficient skills in providing the above listed services, or have an interest in utilizing their lived experience in a position working with consumers of behavioral health. The outcomes that each program measures and works towards are the following:

  •  Increase consumer awareness about mental health resources, substance abuse services, primary care programs and vocational services in the community.
  •  Increase access and linkage to resources and services for consumers.
  •  Increase the social connectedness of consumers with others in their community.
  •  Increase the quality of life of consumers.
  •  Increase the help-seeking behaviors of consumers.
  •  Increase peer wellness, resiliency and recovery.
  •  Increase peer job satisfaction.
  •  Increase the number of peers advancing to a leadership role or finding a higher level employment opportunity.

Ms. Teresa Yu 
MHSA Program Manager

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