Peers on The Move
Individuals being discharged into the community from State Mental Health Treatment Facilities (SMHTF) face many challenges. People become accustomed to their community within the hospital. The longer they are in the hospital, the more difficult it can be to transition to a new community. Just hearing the words, “You are being discharged in one month” can be overwhelming and trigger different thoughts and behaviors.
To assist in these efforts, the South Florida Behavioral
Health Network has funded a Pilot Project to assist individuals coming out of the State Hospital with Peer Support that will follow the person while at the State Facility and help in the transition into the community. Peer Support can help people transition back into the “outside” community by providing encouragement and assistance to achieve long-term recovery. (SAMHSA, 2014).
The Peer Bridger functions as a role model through sharing their own lived experience with behavioral health issues in a way that will inspire hope, encouragement and help to foster recovery and resiliency for the people they serve. The incumbent will provide trauma informed, strengths-based services and supports.
The Peer Bridger will focus on establishing a relationship and providing support to the individual while at the State Hospital. Upon the discharge from the State Hospital, the Peer Bridger will be a pillar of support to promote safe, community integration during transitions. Peer Bridger activities include, but are not limited to the following:
Assist the individual with their adjustment to living in the community.
Provide education and resources that support wellness, self-care, self-determination, self-advocacy,and shared health care decision making.
Help to facilitate a "warm hand-off" to a community behavioral health treatment services.
Utilization of Evidence Based Practices such as WRAP and Peer Support to promote Hope and Recovery.