Peer specialists use their lived experiences to mentor and support others in recovery with mental health and/or substance use issues. By listening, relating, caring and providing resources, our trained and state certified peer specialists help our clients reach their recovery goals.


Peer Support services are available through many of Apalachee Center’s programs and are offered from 9 am – 5 pm on weekdays. Existing clients wishing to work with a peer specialist may request one. Those who are not currently Apalachee Center clients can enroll in services to take advantage of Peer Support services by contacting New Patient Registration at 850-523-3308.


What is Peer Support?

It is a system of giving and receiving help, founded on the key principles of respect, shared responsibility and mutual agreement of what is helpful. Like our clients, peer specialists are also in recovery and are willing to disclose their hardships and successes related to mental health and substance use.

Research and experience show that peer support specialists have a transformative effect on people in recovery. Working with a peer specialist has been shown to:

  • Improve quality of life
  • Improve engagement and satisfaction with services and supports
  • Improve whole health, including chronic conditions like diabetes
  • Decrease hospitalizations and inpatient days
  • Reduce the overall cost of services

Research has shown those who receive peer support experience an improvement in relationships with their healthcare providers, families and communities in addition to improvements in their mental health. Peer support is also show to decrease involvement in the criminal justice system, the use of emergency rooms, relapse, rehospitalizations and readmissions.


Peer Specialists:

  • Maintain a respectful, hopeful and trusting relationship with clients
  • Let clients be the expert on themselves
  • Promote self-determination and self-confidence
  • Offer help when needed and encourage clients to explore and take risks
  • Are eager to listen and tell part of their own stories to help encourage clients
  • Provide information and education


Peer Support is not:

  • Focused on diagnosis, disabilities or deficits
  • Case management or other clinical services
  • The same as a social friendship
  • A replacement for other services
  • The only tool for recovery


For more information about peer support services at Apalachee Center, please contact Peer Specialist Coordinator Beth Dees at 850-523-3244.