Advancing Peer Support in Integrated Health Care
Peer support is the principle and practice of incorporating individuals with lived experience of mental illness as key members of the care team. This initiative aims to further establish recovery and peer support as core principles in the delivery of care.
The Hogg Foundation awarded $900,000 in grants to three Texas community health centers to advance peer support in the delivery of integrated health care. The grantees have each been awarded $300,000 over four years to support the hiring of certified peer specialists.
Texas is one of the states that certifies peer specialists and promotes the use of peer support in both inpatient and community-based mental health settings. Certified peer specialists work from the perspective of having “lived experience” of mental illness. They use their life experience and training to deliver peer support services in behavioral health settings to promote recovery and resilience. In mental health specialty settings, peer specialists are becoming key participants in multidisciplinary treatment teams, and have proven their worth as a valuable complement to standard treatment approaches.
The Hogg Foundation strongly supports maximizing opportunities for peer specialists throughout the health care workforce. However, certified peer specialists are not common in community health center (CHC) settings and the role of certified peer specialists working as treatment team members in these settings has not been thoroughly examined or evaluated. In Texas as elsewhere, CHCs serve as the health care public safety net. For many uninsured and under-insured individuals receiving health care at CHCs, it may be the only place for them to receive mental health services. Thus, this pilot has the potential to improve the delivery of physical health and behavioral health services through the use of peer support in CHCs.
“This grant program represents the joining of two of our most significant programs areas: integrated health care and peer support,” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation and associate vice president for diversity and community engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. “We are committed to helping ensure that peer support is not an adjunct or an after-thought, but an integral part of health care delivery.”
Questions: Contact Rick Ybarra, Program Officer