Community Advocate Peer Educators (CAPE) Program provides increased participation of low-income residents to respond to the problems within our community. CAPE members are low-income adults with a mental illness who may have experienced significant life barriers, such as homelessness, living in extreme poverty, chronically underemployed, and/or substance abuse. Specifically, CAPE is a paid job for adults in order to provide education and hands-on experience with public speaking and telling their story of recovery to give voice to issues.
It is commonly understood that the presence of at least one caring and supportive relationship is one of the most important factors in fostering resilience among people. By definition, Peer Support Specialists (PSS) embody the spirit of resiliency. In turn, they work to identify and enhance resilient traits in their peers.
- Peer Support Specialists enhances several aspects of recovery, including hope, empowerment, self-esteem, self-efficacy, social inclusion, and engagement. They also reduce internalized stigma and promote empowerment and inclusion through the development of personal identity with peers.
- Peer Support Specialists are people who are trained to use their recovery experiences to help guide others who are not as far along in their own journeys toward stability and wellness. We believe that individuals are uniquely positioned to inspire and empower people with a shared experience.
- Peer Support Specialists may work in a variety of settings, provided that they have core experiences in common with the persons served (e.g., chronic health conditions, homeless, military, mental illness) and have maintained recovery and stability for at least a year.
- Kansas requires training and re-certification to maintain Specialist certification.
- Peer Support Specialists:
- Provide support and advocacy – connecting to resources in the community. Coaching peers to identify needs and access resources.
- Role Model Recovery – navigating the recovery journey. Modeling healthy, effective decision-making in peer relationships. Can serve as role models for wellness, responsibility, and empowerment.
- Facilitate positive change – The spirit of recovery and resilience is grounded in hope and optimism. Highlight strengths.
- Peer support is voluntary, mutual and reciprocal, equally shared power, strengths-focused, transparent, and person-driven.
- All Peer Support Specialists adhere to strict confidentiality in their work. While the relationship between a Peer Support Specialist and client is open, honest, and transparent, it also falls under the HIPAA laws. Private information cannot be shared with individuals outside of the system or organization without a signed release of information form.
- Peer Support Services are considered ‘evidenced-based by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and a ‘critical pathway’ of increasing client involvement in behavioral healthcare by the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health.
If you are interested in joining our Peer Support team, CAPE or Peer Support Specialist, we begin taking applications in November with a start date in January for the upcoming calendar year. If you need additional information or have questions, please email Alleshia.Benward@breakthroughwichita.org.