Intentional Peer Support

Peer Support

Intentional Peer Support is a relationship focused, problem solving, and strengths based, trauma-informed approach. With administrative support from the Muskie School, OBH has oversight of training and certification in Intentional Peer Support for individuals identifying as having lived experience with mental health challenges employed to offer support to others with mental health difficulties. OBH offers the eight-day training required to become a Peer Support Specialists; Peer Support 101, a 3-hour class open to anyone interested in learning more about peer support; monthly co-reflections, a form of peer supervision; and maintains records of certification.

The Three Principles of Intentional Peer Support

  • From Helping to Learning Together
    • Individual to Relationship
    • Fear to Hope and Possibility

The Four Tasks of Intentional Peer Support Building Connection

  • Building Connection
  • Helping each other understand how we've come to know what we know (worldview)
  • Re-defining help as a co-learning and growing process (mutuality)
  • Moving towards what we want, rather than away from what we don't want

Intentional Peer Support Training

In collaboration with Shery Mead, the Office of Consumer Affairs (DHHS) and consumers from throughout Maine developed a trauma-informed curriculum, "Intentional Peer Support: An Alternative Approach." This curriculum is used for the Certified Intentional Peer Support Specialist Training Program as well as other trainings offered through the Office of Behavioral Health

Certified Intentional Peer Support Training Program

This eight-day training is a requirement for Peer Support Specialists working on the state-wide Intentional Warmline, in emergency departments, behavioral health homes in State psychiatric hospitals, peer centers and on ACT teams. Various agencies throughout Maine are also opening to have their Peer Support Specialists trained in Intentional Peer Support.

  • Topics covered include: Creating Learning Environments, First Contact, Bias and Privilege, Language, Listening Differently, Challenging Situations, Conversations about Self-Injury and Suicide, and Working in the System.
    • Applications to take this training must be received before the following deadlines:
      • Spring Training: January 15th
      • Summer Training: May 1st
      • Fall Training: August 1st
      • Winter Training: November 1st

Peer Support 101

Peer Support 101 provides an introduction to Intentional Peer Support and an opportunity to learn about peer support in Maine. Peer Support 101 is a 3-hour class open to anyone interested in learning more about peer support. It is also a requirement for participation in Maine’s Certified Intentional Peer Support Specialists Training Program.

Over the past 35 years peer support in mental health has evolved out of a human rights perspective. Even in the late 1970’s, when most of the mental health community was talking about life-long illness and containment in the community, people working in peer support were talking about rights, consciousness raising, alternatives, and choice. People like Sally Zinman and Howie the Harp were helping people come together to support one another in becoming well and building a life in community. While all this was developing, so were the ideas about what makes peer support different than other kinds of help. Not better or worse, but a whole different way of thinking about life and supportive relationships. (Shery Mead, 2006)