A recent phenomenon in mental health care that is rather unheard of but has proven to be perhaps the most effective for helping individuals with mental health problems is ‘peer coaching’, more commonly known as ‘peer support specialist’. Interchangeably referred to as Certified Recovery Support Specialists or Peer Technicians – depending on which setting you are in. A Peer Coach or Peer Support Specialist (PSS) is a professional with lived mental health experience, trained and certified to aid others going through similar mental health issues to help invoke a conscious desire in them for implementation of positive behavioural changes.
As opposed to the role of a traditional therapist or a typical mental health authority, Peer Coaches work from a strength-based perspective and act as advocate support and change agents. Drawing from their own life experiences, they fulfil the role of providing emotional support and feedback for folks struggling with mental illness and enable them to identify and improve their coping skills, allowing for gradual progress towards recovery.
What makes Peer Coaching more effective than traditional mainstream mental health practices is that the peers can identify and relate with their coach on a personal level as someone who has undergone similar experiences and understands what it actually feels like to be in their shoes. It gives them a sense of hope seeing someone else who has managed to overcome the mental health issues and life challenges that they are currently going through. This makes them more likely to seek help and guidance while being treated with compassion, kindness, dignity and autonomy, knowing that their experiences are understood, and perspectives valued.
The framework for peer coaching is based on establishing a module that the peer themselves are comfortable with and want to pursue on their terms. By trusting the peer to define their own path to recovery, a Peer Coach validates their credibility and judgement over their own situation and helps them gain a clearer understanding of where they are at and where they would like to be, along with what steps and measures would be best suited for them to move forward and make progress in their life. Research from Mental Health America shows that peer support benefits the providers as well as the patients, as described in Frank Riessman’s (1965) Helper Therapy Principle, helping others helps them.
Peer Coaching practices have played a significant role in encouraging people to engage more in their own mental well-being and develop empathy to better understand the mental health challenges their peers might be dealing with. It has been shown to drastically reduce the symptoms of mental illness and patients’ reliance on medication and formal services, reducing inpatient services, psychiatric hospitalisations and re-admissions.
If you are someone who can relate to having experienced mental health challenges in the past and have managed to overcome them, or still happen to be struggling with mental health issues but are determined and also passionate about helping your peers find the light at the end of the tunnel, then you might want to consider treading down the path of a Peer Coach. Among the emerging figures in the field of personal well-being is the name Quality Mind Global with its unique and proven system of coaching. Quality Mind Global is currently offering a variety of Mind Training Courses, including Mental Wellness Coach Certification, Mindfulness Coach Certification and Mental Performance Coaching Certification. Becoming a certified Quality Mind Coach will mean gaining access to their Personal Activation System™ and utilising the Quality App to cater to the mental health needs of clients from all over the world. Quality Mind Global allows passionate individuals to live their life purpose and transform lives as part of a progressive global community of Mind Mentors while securing a reliable income source and fulfilling their life purpose. Growth is an unending process. Facilitate the growth of countless individuals while growing yourself as a person and a Mind Mentor.