Mutual peer support was born out of the Consumer/Survivor/Ex-Patient Movement of the 1960’s. At that time, people begun realizing not only that recovery is possible but that it is greatly enhanced by sharing our own recovery experiences with each other. Since that time, peer support has evolved into a professional role within the behavioral health system that maintains the core essence of ‘being with’, in mutuality, to support others to find their OWN personal greatness. It is this very mutuality makes peer support effective. Mutuality ensures that we are supporting people to find their OWN power, voice and path, and are not serving as an expert, parent, monitor, counselor or any other authority in the person’s life. While it is true that effective peer support requires the skilled use of your own lived experience to inspire others, it is also true that the profession is complex, requiring peer workers to support people in new ways while challenging systems to shift toward recovery an maintaining the uniqueness of working in the system while not being of the system’s culture. Being effective in this role therefore requires a competency-based education that combines knowledge, skills, experience, exposure and tools.
Peer Academy is the culmination of years of experience from international peer experts who, in addition to serving as peer specialists, have started up, developed and currently operate successful peer organizations and programs. The developers and facilitators of Peer Academy are skilled and are committed to sharing their expertise in building a competent, qualified peer workforce as an investment in developing future leaders in the peer movement. Peer Academy is NOT an entry level training about personal recovery and peer support. Rather, it is an intense and rigorous professional development course that includes pre-academy coursework, homework, class exercises and sharing your recovery story in class. Acceptance into Peer Academy is competitive, therefore an application and interview process for those that are well-grounded in their own recovery who are committed to excelling as a peer specialist should apply.