FolkTime Peer Support Specialists are individuals who offer hope and empathy, having experienced similar journeys through life.
In 2012, FolkTime joined with Clackamas County to provide Peer Support Specialists in three clinics, Centerstone, Stewart Centerand Hilltop Center.
In 2014, FolkTime expanded by partnering with CareOregon in Multnomah County and Sequoia Mental Health in Washington County to provide Peer Support Specialists.
Peer Support Specialists are consumers of mental health services but have participated in specific training to learn how to assist others who are in various parts of their mental health recovery. Peer Support Specialists offer nonjudgmental support and validation through the sharing of personal experiences and coping skills. Peer Support Specialists are able to offer genuine empathy having personally traveled similar roads of trauma, distress, or discomfort. They are able to assist individuals as advocates and supports in the community.
FolkTime endorses and has trained all their staff in Intentional Peer Support and Mental Health First Aid, which are national models. Through this program clients of the clinics can form connections with peer providers where they can explore their world views, foster mutuality, and move towards their ideal life of recovery.
Peers based in the clinic primarily meet with individuals in the community. These meetings can range from hospital visits to grabbing a cup of coffee to water aerobics. Basically, Peer Support Specialists are there to support the individual in recovery (with whatever that means to them) as an active participant.