IPS-Oregon HUB

FolkTime is the Oregon Hub for Intentional Peer Support Training.

What is Intentional Peer Support?

Intentional Peer Support, known as IPS, is a relational framework developed in the 1990s by Shery Mead and others who were active in the mental health consumer/survivor/x-patient movement. It has evolved over the years while engaging many people in the work of transformative, mutually responsible relationships. This framework is generally evoked when someone may be experiencing intense emotions or psychological distress, yet it proves useful in many situations and relationships. For these reasons, we believe IPS is beneficial to all human service providers!
“As peer support in mental health proliferates, we must be mindful of our intention: social change. It is not about developing more effective services, but rather about creating dialogues that have influence on all of our understandings, conversations, and relationships.”

– Shery Mead, Founder of IPS

3 Principles, 4 Tasks

The formation of IPS’s Principles and Tasks gives gravity to our ideals, distilling the extensive core content down to digestible pieces that we can hold on to, even in the midst of challenging situations:



  • Helping to Learning Together

    Moving from helping to learning is a shift from "doing to" people to "being with" people. It's a shift from "me and you" to "us". It's about thinking, "What can we create and learn together?"

  • Individual to Relationship

    Even when doing tasks with people, our focus and intent is still on building relationship, thus learning; the task itself is just the vehicle for doing so.

  • Fear to Hope & Possibility

    Hope-based relationships are based on what is possible, where we are going, and how we can create something new together.

  • Connection

    We learn how to validate and relate with on one another. If and when disconnects occur, we can embrace them as opportunities that might even deepen the relationship.

  • Worldview

    With curiosity, we explore how we have come to see the world, making ourselves aware of assumptions while listening for the untold story.

  • Mutuality

    Negotiating and naming power, all parties are able to say what we see, feel, and need while making spaciousness for all of our worldviews to come together. This process enables us to examine our lives in the context of mutually accountable relationships and communities, looking beyond the mere notion of individual responsibility for change.

  • Moving Towards

    Instead of focusing solely what we need to stop or avoid doing, the practice of focusing on what we want encourages us to increasingly live in ways that aid in the creation of supportive beliefs and actions.

Quotes and descriptions adapted from the Intentional Peer Support Core Material.

in the Com

The Intentional Peer Support framework is used in many programs around the world! In Oregon, we value our community partners who are investing in applying the principles and tasks to their organizations and work. These are some of our key partners with Organizational Trainers.


"We need to heal the community to heal ourselves. We change ourselves through changing the world around us. Social justice and mental wellness cannot be separated."

Agustina Vidal ICARUS Project

"It was at that moment that I knew I had a choice. Up to that point I just assumed that stuff happened to me - that I had no control over it."

Shery Mead

Founder IPS