The Professional Experiences of Peer Specialists in the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network

Anthony O. Ahmed, Kristin M. Hunter, Paul A Mabe, Sherry J. Tucker, Peter F Buckley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


There has been an increase in the number of peer-led services within the mental health care system. There however remains little information about the experiences of peers serving in such helping roles. This study explored the professional experiences of peer specialists including the basic roles, benefits, and potential challenges of the peer specialist role. Peer specialists (N = 84) completed a battery of surveys and questionnaires. Qualitative analysis of participants’ responses indicated that peer specialists face difficulties such as poor compensation, limited employment opportunities, work stress, emotional stress in helping others, and maintaining personal wellness. Quantitative analyses revealed that recovery attitudes may confer clinical and psychosocial benefits for peer specialists and employment may contribute to hope, empowerment, social engagement, and competence. Peer specialists would benefit from resources and supports aimed at their continued training and supervision. Fostering the vocational advancement of peer specialists could potentially enhance their experiential recovery and community functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-436
Number of pages13
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Functional outcomes
  • Peer specialist
  • Recovery
  • Work status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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