It can be difficult or even scary to walk into to a mental health clinic and ask for help. Clinics have professionals who talk with you, help you understand your symptoms and lend a caring ear. However, talking with someone else who has lived with a mental illness and has already done what you want to do can help in a different way. Talking with someone who’s been there is called peer support. Peers can walk beside you as you get better and answer questions by sharing their own experiences.
What Are the Benefits of Peer Support?
Peer specialists are living proof that people can successfully recover from mental illness and addiction. They can help people figure out how to deal with family members who don’t understand and always say the wrong things. They can even work with your family and help them learn how to help. Peers can help people work through life challenges like getting a job or housing, and they can provide support and reassurance that it is okay to experience symptoms of mental illness, like anxiety when things aren’t going right and depression when a person is feeling down. Peers can show people with mental illness how to get their lives back.
Who Is Eligible for Peer Support Services?
Texas residents 18 and older are eligible to be assessed for a mental illness and admitted for services by a state-funded provider. Once admission is complete, people are eligible for peer support services.
How Do I Get Peer Support Services?
- Contact your local mental health authority or local behavioral health authority.
- Call 2-1-1 and ask for the LMHA or LBHA in your area
Consumer Operated Service Providers
Although most peer providers are employees of state-funded providers, organizations owned and run by peers exist in seven areas in the state. They are called consumer operated service providers. COSPs contract with state-funded providers to provide peer support services. They also provide peer support services independently in the communities where they operate. People receiving services can choose to receive peer support services from the state-funded provider peer staff or from the peer providers who work for the COSP. In either case, the peer specialists provide the same supports for people they serve. COSPs include: