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What is Family Peer Support?

A low-cost, care extension option that improves outcomes through connection to a peer with lived experience.

NAMI Ohio defines a Family Peer Support Specialist as "an individual who has self-identified as the caregiver of a person with behavioral health challenges who has successfully navigated service systems on behalf of the person and successfully met the requirements of certification to be a Certified Peer Recovery Supporter by virtue of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Family Peer Supporters are also known as Parent Support Specialists, Family Navigators, Family Mentors, and Family or Parent Partners. At Two faces of Jane, we call them Family Peer Support Specialists.

A Family Peer Support Specialist (FPSS) has lived experience as the caregiver of a child or young person struggling with issues of mental health. But there are many households where an adult child lives with his/her parents and cannot live independently. Still other families are chosen families due to estrangement from blood relations, which we often see in the LGBTQ+ community. Whomever you see as your family, we include in our definition of family. Medicaid and insurance may not cover Family

Peer Services for adults, but they will cover Peer Recovery Support for adults with major mental illness, SUD, or COD. Thus, because we understand that family often continues to be involved in care well into the life of an adult, we offer family services for adults as an adjunct to Peer Recovery Support -- it's totally up to the patient.

You see, many Family Peer Support Specialists are birth parents, adoptive parents, foster parents or legal guardians/custodians. But others of us are not blood relations to those we cared for, but were chosen by the family or child or youth to have the role of primary caregiver. To us, family is family!

Our Peer Specialists support an individual’s and/or family’s ability to address needs and navigate systems, and promote recovery, resiliency, and wellness. We are there to help, provide emotional support, connect them with medical, agency, and community services they need, and as someone that understands what they are going through and the challenges they face simply listen. Through our own experiences and our FPS/PRS training, we know a lot about community services, and even more about the school system, and will advocate for your child (just like we did for our own) right along with you.

Our services are family driven, youth guided, trauma-informed, and culturally competent. A cornerstone of our work with individuals and families is that they always remain the decision-makers, and are always in the "driver's seat." Our Specialists share their life experiences and what worked for them, but also can present about other resources and methods that may be a better "fit" for a family. We provide basic to intensive family support services, and participate as an active member of the treatment team in a variety of settings, if that's what the family wants and needs.

If you are considering Peer Support care as a family or as an individual, please sign up for a 30-minute free consultation with Tess.

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