Currently in the United States there is a provider workforce shortage of 40% within the addiction treatment industry. There are quite literally not enough people serving the millions of individuals suffering from substance use disorder. Kyros is committed to addressing this massive treatment gap, starting with providers. We’re creating a workforce of Peer Providers who are going out into the community and working with individuals in early stages of recovery, equipped with their personal lived experience of addiction recovery.
As we professionalize this career path, we’ve included new opportunities for growth within the Peer Provider profession at Kyros. From a W-2 Peer program, to incentives and promotions – Kyros Peers are offered a career track that allows professional development each step of the way. Because we offer a high standard of professionalism, we also hold these same expectations of Peers. We look for individuals who are devoted to helping their fellow peers in recovery, and deeply committed to delivering high quality care to their clients. In this post, we’re going to cover what Kyros Peer Providers are responsible for, and what we look for when hiring Peers.
What is a Peer Provider and Why Do They Matter?
Peer Providers are professionals within the recovery community who utilize their lived experience to support their peers in recovery. Providing the clients with a range of support services, Peers use their own experiences in recovery to guide, advise and mentor each client uniquely. As each person in recovery has encountered different hurdles, clients rely on Peers who can understand what they have lived through. We recognize that this connection is of utmost importance, and this is why we pair each client with a Peer who is best equipped to support them in healthy recovery.
Invaluable lived experience coupled with adequate training qualifies Peers as professionals who are in a unique position to offer non-clinical support that can radically impact the lives of those they work with. Over 70% of our clients reported that working with a Peer has stopped them from returning to use at least 1-2 times. Working as a Peer Provider, you meet your clients where they are at in their recovery and walk alongside them throughout their journey. Because you offer services based on what is needed at each point along the journey, your relationship with clients grows as they take steps along the way.
The support you offer as a Peer extends beyond the clinical setting into everyday life, assisting with improving habits and overall quality of life for clients. This level of support is what uplifts clients, and catches them before they fall. Peer Providers have been proven to increase positive outcomes within the recovery community. But these tools are unfortunately not widely established. To learn more about the history of peer support, keep reading.
Learn More About Becoming a Peer Here: How Can I Become a Peer Recovery Specialist?
The History of Peer Support
Within the behavioral health industry, there has long been a trend of transforming lived experience into helping others. This is specifically seen in the addiction recovery industry, starting with community support groups and evolving into a professionalized role. For more than 275 years individuals and families have utilized informal peer support as a recovery resource aiding in long-term recovery. After recovery support groups rose in popularity throughout the 1900s, it became clear that peer-based support was critical along the recovery process.
Peer support was officially introduced in 2004 in Pennsylvania alongside the first developed training curriculum. Shortly down the road, peer support services were incorporated into the Medicaid State Plan in Pennsylvania. Across the next decade we have witnessed peer support trickle into each individual state. Eventually this led to national recognition from behavioral health organizations like SAMHSA. As we sit today, peer support is widely accepted as an effective recovery tool, used in conjunction with comprehensive treatment plans. While peer support is growing in utilization, a standard of professionalism is not seen.
We recognize the invaluable role that Peer Providers play in removing barriers to successful recovery. As we strive to increase public awareness of tools like peer support, we understand that this role needs to be recognized, utilized and professionalized. We are committed to professionalizing the Peer Provider role, introducing standards that exist to serve both Peers and their clients. Below you will find what Kyros looks for in Peers to uphold this standard of care.
Find Out More About Peer Recovery Services: What are Peer Recovery Services?
What Kyros Looks for in Peer Providers
While there are many qualifiers considered, there are a few key indicators that a potential Peer will be successful in their role. Aside from the necessary qualifications of training, a year or more of sustained recovery/lived experience and a valid driver’s license, here are the characteristics we look for in Peer Providers.
Professional Work Boundaries
Setting professional boundaries is a healthy way to maintain a good work-life balance, and increase satisfaction with your job. Specifically as a Peer, working in a support role can be draining if healthy boundaries are not set. This can look like taking an entire day away from work to focus on self-care, taking time off for a vacation and establishing a clear work schedule. Setting professional boundaries also refers to remaining professional within client relationships. This means abstaining from serving dual roles while working as a Peer, such as having a relationship with clients outside of work. Dual relationships make it difficult for Peers to maintain professional boundaries and therefore should be avoided.
Strong Desire to Help Others
Working as a Peer, your first priority should be delivering high quality care to the clients you work with. If you feel called to helping others, this position could be the right fit for you! Our Peers are passionate about giving back to individuals who are earlier along in their recovery journey, and they genuinely want to help improve their clients’ lives. In this position, you will be working with community groups to support clients in all areas of their life. Because of this, you should aspire to help the clients and communities that you are working with.
Understanding of the Role
Having an understanding of the role of a Peer Provider, and what peer support is will be critical to your position. We’ve included various resources below to help you better understand what a Peer Provider is, and you can check out this post to learn more about what a typical day looks like for a Peer at Kyros. As a Peer, you will deliver support and guidance to each client you have. Because of this, it’s critical that you understand how you can do this in different ways.
Maintaining professionalism while working as a Peer is necessary. Because you will be working with changeable schedules and potentially emotional situations, you will need to possess the ability to remain professional. Below are some examples of how you can display professionalism as a Peer:
- Responsiveness to emails, calls and other inquiries
- Respect of others
- Offer support to fellow Peers
- Show strong ethics such as integrity
- Time management
Other Qualities That are Beneficial to Have:
- Leadership skills
- High engagement – ie. providing feedback
- Healthy coping skills
- Excitement for the role
- Technologically capable
Peer Providers at Kyros are expected to be dynamic in their work – they will be called to consistently evolve in the role. If you’d like to find out more about working as a Peer, visit some of the resources below.
Resources for Peers
- Re-certification and Continuing Education Opportunities for Peers
Cultivate a Fulfilling Career in Peer Support
Working as a Peer Provider is not your typical 9-5. You will be out in the field working with clients, and creating a schedule that works for you. While this is not a typical office job, it is no less rewarding professionally. Our Peers have an incredible impact on the clients they work with, delivering life-changing support that can’t be offered by just anyone. Each Kyros Peer is qualified to deliver this care based on the above qualities, and continued standards we maintain after bringing Peers onto the team. Sound like a good fit for you? Keep reading to learn how you can get started as a Peer at Kyros today!
The Right Fit For You?
Does this role sound like the perfect fit for you? We’re always looking for professionals who are passionate about giving back to the community – learn more about becoming a Peer Provider here.
Chestnut Health Systems. “Peer-based Addiction Recovery Support.” Chestnut Health Systems, 2009. https://www.chestnut.org/Resources/e661edae-4f7d-4564-aace-2f022d111864/2009PeerRecoverySupportMonographExecutiveSummary.pdf. Accessed 27 April 2023.
PaPSC. “History of Peer Support.” Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition, 2023. https://papeersupportcoalition.org/certified-peer-specialists/history-of-peer-support/#:~:text=The%20Certified%20Peer%20Specialist%20Initiative%20was%20launched%20in%202004%20by,to%20a%20recovery%20oriented%20system.. Accessed 27 April 2023.
SAMHSA. “Peer Support Workers for those in Recovery.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2022. https://www.samhsa.gov/brss-tacs/recovery-support-tools/peers. Accessed 25 April 2023.