National Association of Peer Supporters

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Article Urges Supervisors to Safeguard Peer Support Values at Work

Washington, DC (July 13, 2021) — The National Association of Peer Supporters (N.A.P.S.) announces the publication of “National Practice Guidelines for Peer Support Specialists and Supervisors” in Psychiatric Services, a journal of the American Psychiatric Association.

The article reinforces the crucial role of supervisors in protecting the integrity of peer support services, particularly as a projected 1 million additional peer support specialists are needed to meet the increased demand for behavioral health services in the United States. The authors point to N.A.P.S. guidelines that were developed specifically to help peer supervisors integrate twelve core peer support values into their professional practices. The National Practice Guidelines for Peer Specialists and Supervisors offers not only new ideas but also concrete, practical guidance that supervisors can apply in their day-to-day work.

N.A.P.S. Board President Dana Foglesong said, “Rapid growth of the peer support workforce carries a risk that peer support values will be undermined in treatment settings that don’t have an ingrained recovery orientation. Supervisors play a critical role in helping peer support specialists uphold these values, and our hope is that the National Practice Guidelines for Peer Specialists and Supervisors will better equip supervisors to preserve the quality and values of peer support services.”

The article “National Practice Guidelines for Peer Support Specialists and Supervisors” can be found in Psychiatric Services at https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.202000901

To read the National Practice Guidelines for Peer Specialists and Supervisors, see https://www.peersupportworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/National-Practice-Guidelines-for-Peer-Specialists-and-Supervisors.pdf

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National Association of Peer Supporters is the professional association for the peer support workforce in the United States. A nonprofit membership association founded in 2004, N.A.P.S. aims to grow the peer support profession by promoting the inclusion of peer specialists in health care and community systems.

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An Opportunity for Growth and Change

2020 has been full of challenges and for many of us, crisis. The coronavirus impacted each of us on a personal, family, and community level. This ongoing pandemic will continue to alter our lives.
In May, our country’s history and present reality of racism came front and center with the killing of George Floyd. For some the harsh reminder of racism has brought tremendous pain, while others an acknowledgement that we have more to learn about antiracism and how to act to fight against racism.

As the trade association for the peer support profession, N.A.P.S. understands that racism, along with other forms of discrimination, is structural and systemic. Systems employing peer support specialists can harbor discriminatory and stigmatizing policy and practices, and peer support specialists may also face additional societal stigma and discrimination based on class, ethnicity, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, etc. We also know that discrimination, racism, and other forms of oppression impact the people in various systems whom peer support specialists serve.

While N.A.P.S. has made efforts to engage a diverse group of individuals from marginalized social groups, our Board recognized during our October strategic planning session that we can do better. We agreed to take proactive steps to increase the participation of underrepresented individuals and social groups in the membership and leadership of N.A.P.S.

One of the core values of peer support from N.A.P.S. National Practice Guidelines is that peer supporters facilitate change. The N.A.P.S. Board of Directors is committed to growth and change through the development of intentional practices and policies that support an organizational culture of acceptance, safety, and welcoming for all individuals. We continue to learn through this process and look forward to sharing this with you as we learn and grow from it.

Crisis as an opportunity for growth and change is a foundational concept to the peer support profession. Turning trauma, crisis, and chaos into meaningful change requires thinking in a new way, seeing in a new way, and responding in a new way. We hope you will join us in this effort.

Take care of yourself and your community,

Dana Foglesong
President, N.A.P.S. Board of Directors

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National Association of Peer Supporters

iNAPS Rebrands as the National Association of Peer Supporters

iNAPS has reorganizied and rebranded as the National Association of Peer Supporters (N.A.P.S.). With this change N.A.P.S. has a new logo (see above) and is now officially the International Association of Peer Supporters, Inc doing business as the National Association of Peer Supporters, Inc.

To align more closely with the mission of N.A.P.S., we will prioritize the development of a professional association of peer support specialists by recruiting and uniting peer support workers as members of the professional association. N.A.P.S. will direct its focus to providing services to their members and promoting the interests of peer support specialists.

N.A.P.S. will continue conversations with peer support workers in other countries to explore the establishment of an international coalition and continue to welcome individuals from across the world as both members and volunteers. N.A.P.S. will also build strong partnerships with international organizations, participate in global gatherings and coalitions, and work to advance collaborative, peer support initiatives world-wide.

N.A.P.S. leadership is moving forward with a laser-focused approach to growing and supporting their membership, and addressing workforce development issues that impose barriers to the growth of the peer support profession. Over the coming months the N.A.P.S. board will evaluate their capacity to search for and hire an Executive Director.

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