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Peer Support

Peer Services

When you are looking for treatment and support, it is important to know that you are not alone. On this path to recovery, it can be helpful to connect with people who have lived through similar experiences as you! In the behavioral health field, these people are called peers.

Peer support workers, or peers, are people who have been successful in the recovery process, who now help others experiencing similar situations. Peer support workers help people become engaged, and stay engaged, in the recovery process and reduce the likelihood of relapse. Peer support workers are different from other treatment professionals, because they have lived experience. From this place of shared understanding, they can go beyond the reach of treatment in a clinical setting, and can work with you in your everyday environment.

Peers can support you in both treatment and recovery settings. Peers can play many roles in this process:

  • Advocating for people in recovery
  • Sharing resources and building skills
  • Building community and relationships
  • Leading recovery groups
  • Mentoring and setting goals

Peer support services are a welcome and needed part of the substance use treatment and recovery community. In this field, a peer is called a Certified Recovery Peer Advocate, or CRPA. A CRPA is the title for a person in recovery with lived substance use experience, who has earned a certification through the New York Certification Board and the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS). CRPAs provide non-clinical support services, and may also help those in treatment/ recovery in the development of recovery plans, effective coping habits, and life skills for navigating recovery.

The main job for Certified Recovery Peer Advocates is to outreach and connect to individuals currently in a program or considering treatment. Using their recovery expertise, professional training and lived experience, peers boost a person’s engagement in treatment and commitment to recovery. CPRAs also connect people to community-based recovery supports consistent with treatment, recovery, and discharge plans. Certified Peer Recovery Advocates duties may include:

  • Non-clinical crisis support, especially after periods of hospitalization or incarceration
  • Educating program participants about various modes of recovery
  • Going with clients to medical appointments
  • Raising awareness of existing social and other support services
  • Linking participants to formal recovery support
  • Assisting with applying for benefits

Peers can work in many different treatment and recovery settings. These include OASAS outpatient programs, hospitals, and community-based service settings.

To become a Certified Recovery Peer Advocate (CRPA), there are certain education and training requirements a person must earn. The New York Certification board is the only entity authorized by OASAS to oversee the training and certification of Certified Recovery Peer Advocates in New York State. For more information about how to become a Certified Recovery Peer Advocate, visit the OASAS Become Certified Recover Peer Advocate and New York Certification Board websites.

Peer support services are a welcome an important part of the mental health treatment and recovery community. In this field, a peer is called a Peer Specialist. A Peer Specialist is the title for a person in recovery with lived mental health experience, who has earned a certification through the New York Peer Specialist Certification Board. The main responsibility of a Certified Peer Specialist is to help people understand recovery and understand their own recovery needs, wants, and coals.

To become a Certified Peer Specialist, there are certain education and training requirements a person must earn. For more information about how to become a Certified Peer Specialist, visit the New York Peer Specialist Certification Board website.

Important Numbers:

If you are experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis, call for help!

  • Family Service League’s Diagnostic, Assessment, and Stabilization Hub (DASH) Program, 24/7 hotline: For mental health counseling, addiction treatment, and crisis care for children and adults in Suffolk County, call (631) 952 – 3333

  • Suicide Prevention Hotline: If you are in crisis, in need of support or resources, or if you are feeling suicidal, call the Response of Suffolk 24/7 Crisis Hotline (631) 751 - 7500

  • For a medical emergency, call 911