Unity Peer Support Specialist

Peer Support Specialist

Unity Center for Behavioral Health PES/Peer Bridger Programs

FolkTime, Inc.

The PES Peer Support program offers peer support to individuals who are utilizing services at Unity Center for Behavioral Health’s Psychiatric Emergency Services, and can serve as a role model as someone who personally identifies as a peer and has travelled similar roads of distress, discomfort, and trauma. PES Peer Supports will promote a recovery oriented support system that focuses on hope, choice, personal responsibility, and self-determination and will promote this orientation in all aspects of the work. Engagement will support participants in developing recovery skills, building natural support systems, engaging in positive activities, and utilizing resources and support services in the community. PES Peer Supports will meet individuals within the Psychiatric Emergency Services, and will support individuals during their stay, with potential opportunity to provide short-term (within 7 days) support connecting to natural supports in the community at the discretion of the Unity Peer Supervisor. PES Peer Supports work with individuals will be driven by the participant’s recovery needs and interests, and support will occur in both group and individual settings.

This individual who fills this position will staff the PES Peer Support Program 32 hours per week, and will have 8 hours per week of work associated with the Unity Peer Bridger Program. Individuals who experience recurrent hospital or PES visits, who have received new mental health diagnoses, or are having difficulty engaging with natural community supports are eligible for a Peer Bridger. The individual who is hired into this role will dedicate their Peer Bridger hours to 1) connecting individuals they have met in the PES to the other Peer Bridgers, and 2) facilitating Peer Support groups and opportunities for connection both on-site at Unity and/or at other Folktime locations.

Major Duties:

  • Engage in hope-based relationships with individuals that model the development of positive and support relationships in the community
  • Explore recovering person’s abilities, strengths and assets and support them to recognize and use them
  • Identify barriers to full participation and focus on strategies to overcome them
  • Assist individuals in learning to recognize activations and signs of relapse and support the use the individual’s coping strategies as an alternative to more structured services
  • Co-facilitate meetings with teams of people in recovery to create a peer support and accountability culture
  • Work successfully and collaboratively with professional staff while promoting the value added work of peer mentoring and participant self-determination in the mental health services model. Actively participate in team meetings and promote a recovery perspective as a key component of all discussions.
  • Explore opportunities to engage in community supports including but not limited to: support groups, 12-step programs, and other life enrichment activities
  • Complete all required documentation in a timely manner
  • Maintain a presence in PES milieu during PES scheduled hours
  • Seek referrals from clinical staff as well as self-initiate contact with peers as appropriate


  • Ability to work independently and as a member of a multi-disciplinary team.
  • Ability to develop trusting relationships with peers and staff
  • Comfort working with individuals actively experiencing what may be perceived as “symptoms” of mental health distress, and ability to see “crisis” as an opportunity
  • Good written and verbal communication skills
  • Competent with computers for word processing, internet, email and social media or able to learn these skills


  • Complete a 40-hour Oregon approved peer support training
  • Must meet the Oregon Administrative Rules definition of a peer to the population being served. ORS 414.025 defines a Peer Support Specialist as “any individual who has similar life experience, either as a current or former recipient of addictions or mental health services, or as a family member of an individual who is a current or former recipient of addictions or mental health services.”
  • 1+ year experience as a peer support specialist or 1+ year experience working/volunteering in a helping profession
  • Must be able to pass a criminal background check
  • Ability to report to work reliably and in a timely fashion
  • Access to use of a vehicle on days scheduled as a Peer Bridger

Preferred but not required:

  • Prior completion of Intentional Peer Support
  • Certified Recovery Mentor
  • Bachelors or advanced degree
  • U.S. Military veteran
  • Experience working with individuals who experience extreme states/realities that may be different than one’s own
  • Verbal fluency in Spanish


Salary and Benefits: Salary starts at $16.50 per hour with prorated Paid Time Off (PTO) and benefits. Benefits package includes health, vision and dental insurance (only available for positions that are .75 FTE and above)

Hours and Shifts available: This position is 40hrs/week, with hours of Sunday-Thursday 12:00pm-8:30pm

Application Process: Please submit a cover letter and resume by to the hiring committee at applications@folktime.org

In your cover letter, please address the following:

  • “Please explain how you would draw on your own experiences, both personal and professional, in order to support others who are experiencing mental health distress.”

Agency Description:  Founded in 1986, FolkTime, Inc. is a non-profit community service for individuals who share the experience of living with mental health histories. FolkTime offers social programs that are open to all individuals regardless of health insurance or program affiliation, as well as clinic-based peer support programs that are offered to individuals who qualify. The agency focus is on wellness and recovery. All FolkTime programs utilize Intentional Peer Support as their model. FolkTime is an equal opportunity employer, and encourages candidates with diverse backgrounds to apply.