Peer specialists need to belong to forums and associations because these bodies play an important role in formulating ethical rules, practicing guidelines, and qualification requirements. Without them, there will be anarchy in practicing peer support.
For peer professionals, visibility and networking is key to growing and finding more opportunities. However, it is good to belong in an association and attend forums designed to help peers. There are several advantages of doing so, such as:
- You get to identify with other peers and get registered as a professional
- You have access to new information and training relating to peers.
- You get listed in a directory, which can prove useful in getting new clients.
- You beat the competition. Employers are more likely to go for a peer in an association than one who isn’t in any.
- You can discover new and beneficial certifications and licensing programs.
- Members attain privileged access as they qualify for specific discounts or special privileges thanks to your association.
- Networking opportunities. Forums and associations make it very easy to meet, like minds, form friendships, and create new opportunities. In such events, members are rarely seen as competitions but rather, opportunities. Taking part in such activities can mean a significant boost in your career as a peer.
Associations You Could Belong To As a Peer
- iNAPS: the national association of peer supporters is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 2004. It began as a small group of peer specialists in Michigan interested in what went on in the industry in other states. Today, this association has grown to include members from every state in the USA. When members of this association come together, they share useful resources, ideas, and valuable information that will have practical application in real life. They have also formed a dominant force in deciding the rules of being a peer.
- California Association Of Community Health Workers: this is another essential association peer specialist should join. It is an incorporated nonprofit association that runs statewide. Its mission is to transform communities and the mental health system in California. It is also dedicated to ensuring consumers’ rights are upheld, eliminating stigma, and advancing the determination of mental health patients to get better.
Peer specialists are advised to belong to the association they find both accommodating and convenient hence they join the association in the state they practice. You wouldn’t want to travel for days to attend a meeting, would you? Considering that these associations and forums are designed to help peers in specific areas, they work hand in hand with the rules governing peer societies in such states. This creates another problem if you plan to be a peer in one state and belong to an association in a different state. However, it is paramount you belong to one if you plan on becoming a good and successful peer.