A peer provider (e.g., certified peer specialist, peer support specialist, recovery coach) is a person who uses his or her lived experience of recovery from mental illness and/or addiction, plus skills learned in formal training, to deliver services in behavioral health settings to promote mind-body recovery and resiliency.
In primary care, peer support services have traditionally been limited to an informal or volunteer role of connecting people living with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, in sharing knowledge and experiences with each other. More recently, peer support roles have evolved to include community health workers, peer coaches, and more. Peer Support in Primary Care Settings focuses around four core functions and enhances primary care by providing self-management around chronic conditions.
In integrated health, an emerging key role for peer providers are interventions that result in the activation of whole health self-management by those in recovery from behavioral health and chronic health conditions (Druss et al. 2010; Brekke et al. 2012)