Press Release

N.A.P.S. Statement in Support of Reproductive Rights

National Association of Peer Supporters logo

The National Association of Peer Supporters (N.A.P.S.) recognizes bodily and reproductive autonomy as fundamental rights that all human beings deserve and which deserve to be protected. This can include making decisions about which treatments to participate in, which medications to take, and the right to a safe and legal abortion. The Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a byproduct of which is that abortion is now illegal or soon will be in 16 states, is in opposition to some of the core values behind peer support. Notably, these include autonomy and self-determination, voice, choice, and control, and determining for oneself the life one would like to lead.

Peer support as a service originates from a long history of experiencing harm and oppression at the hands of systems. This has included forced treatment and medication, seclusion and restraint, and forced sterilization. Psychiatric survivors and ex-patient movements, among others, played large roles in advocating for the rights of people navigating behavioral healthcare systems to have control over their own bodies and many peer roles come from these movements as well.

We are still not in a place where every person has the right to make decisions about their own body. N.A.P.S. recognizes that those most impacted by abortion restriction, and those most likely to die from not having access to care, are people from historically marginalized communities; in particular Black and Indigenous women. As long as people who can become pregnant (however they identify) lack their basic human rights, N.A.P.S. will continue to stand alongside them for the restoration of those rights. We strongly encourage all peer supporters to do the same.

For additional information about abortion laws in your state please visit these links:

For additional information about peer support values, please visit the National Practice Guidelines at the link below:

State of the Union Address 2022

National Association of Peer Supporters

The National Association of Peer Supporters, representing the nation’s Peer Support Specialists, applauds President Biden and his Administration for bringing attention and solutions to the mental health of our nation.

“We must dramatically expand the supply, diversity, and cultural competency of our mental health and substance use disorder workforce – from psychiatrists to psychologists, peers to paraprofessionals – and increase both opportunity and incentive for them to practice in areas of highest need.  Our crisis response infrastructure must also be strengthened to ensure that those facing acute behavioral health challenges can be seamlessly connected to necessary services. ”

The White House

Since 2004, the National Association of Peer Supporters has been on a mission to grow the peer support profession by promoting the inclusion of peer specialists throughout healthcare and other community systems. In this growth, we hold true to the intent of why peer support exists, not just to help people transform their lives but also to transform healthcare and other community systems. Through feedback from peer specialists across the country, we have gained consensus on a standard occupational classification definition of Peer Support Specialists as well as published National Practice Guidelines for Peer Support Specialists that have been recognized by the World Health Organization. We fully understand the systemic and societal issues associated with growing the peer support workforce in a way that upholds the values of peer support.

Peer support specialists are experts at looking beyond symptom management and stabilization to address the whole person. Our lived and living experiences of overcoming mental health and substance use conditions or supporting loved ones through their journey to health and wellness give us insider knowledge of the barriers and resources necessary for recovery. This includes recovery-oriented and trauma-informed treatment, access to non-clinical recovery supports and services, and welcoming communities that allow for full participation and are free of discrimination.

Presidential Administrations have a played critical role in elevating the value that people with lived and living experiences of mental health and substance conditions and their families have in the design, delivery, and evaluation of services. We celebrate the inclusion of the Peer Support Workforce in the Administration’s strategy. We stand ready to partner with the Biden administration on improving the health of all Americans including through policy related to the peer support profession. 

View the press release from the White House here.

Links included

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

To read the National Practice Guidelines for Peer Specialists and Supervisors, see


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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Leading Mental Health Organizations Strongly Support New Bipartisan Peer Support Legislation Introduced in the Senate

Jillian Hughes

Leading Mental Health Organizations Strongly Support New Bipartisan Peer Support Legislation Introduced in the Senate 

Alexandria, VA (June 24, 2021) – Leading mental health organizations, including the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), Mental Health America (MHA), the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), the National Association of Peer Supporters (N.A.P.S) and the Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness (ABHW), strongly support new bipartisan legislation introduced in the Senate by Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to provide Medicare coverage of peer support services for individuals with mental health or substance use disorders who are being treated in primary care and receiving integrated behavioral health services. The bill clarifies that nothing in the Medicare statute prohibits peer support specialists from providing services billed as part of integrated behavioral health. It specifies that peer support specialists’ services may be billed under the collaborative care and other behavioral health integration codes in Medicare. This bill is companion legislation to H.R. 2767 in the House of Representatives introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE).

Peer support specialists are people with lived experience of a mental health or substance use disorder who have completed specialized training and are certified to deliver support services under appropriate state or national certification standards. This legislation provides the first comprehensive definition of peer support specialists in federal Medicare law. Peer support specialists assist individuals in achieving their recovery goals by furnishing emotional, informational, and other support services to individuals who have been diagnosed with a mental illness — including dementia — or a substance use disorder.

This legislation recognizes the unique role of peer support specialists as they complement therapists, case managers, and physicians as part of a coordinated team. Peer support promotes recovery by helping individuals better engage in services, manage physical and mental health conditions, build support systems, and, ultimately, live self-directed lives in their communities. Under this proposed legislation peer support specialists may be included as part of an integrated behavioral health team that includes a primary care doctor, a consulting psychiatrist, a care manager, and others.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recognizes peer support as an effective, evidence-based practice. According to SAMHSA, the proven benefits of peer support include reduced hospital admission rates, increased social support and social functioning, and decreased substance use and depression.[1] A 2018 analysis showed that providers with peer services had 2.9 fewer hospitalizations per year and saved an average of $2,138 per Medicaid-enrolled month in Medicaid expenditures.[2] As of January 2021, nearly all states allow Medicaid to be billed for peer support services.

The Veterans’ Health Administration has recognized the value of peer support specialists to serve Veterans with mental health and substance use conditions. For example, a 2012 White House Executive Order to improve mental health access for veterans included a directive to hire additional peer support specialists.[3]

The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated a pre-existing behavioral health workforce shortage that is particularly acute in rural areas and communities of color. This policy change represents an opportunity to develop a peer workforce that reflects the communities to be served and understands their unique mental health needs by expanding access to recovery services in primary care.

It is for these reasons that NASMHPD, MHA, DBSA, N.A.P.S and ABHW strongly support Sen. Cortez Masto’s and Sen. Cassidy’s measure to provide Medicare coverage for peer support services for individuals with mental health and substance use disorders in integrated behavioral health programs, and why we urge speedy passage of this key legislation.


[1] “Peers Supporting Recovery from Mental Health Conditions,” Substance and Mental Health Services Administration, 2017.
[2] Bouchery, E., Barna, M., Babalola, E., Friend, D., Brown, J., Blyler, C., Ireys, H., The Effectiveness of a Peer-Staffed Crisis Respite Program as an Alternative to Hospitalization, Psychiatric Services, August 2018
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