Who are Peer Specialists?
A peer specialist is someone with lived experience in recovery from a mental health condition and/or substance disorder who coaches others experiencing similar challenges. They provide non-clinical guidance based on their own recovery experiences and personal resiliency. Peer Specialists, also known as Certified Peer Specialists receive training, certification, continuing education and clinical supervision to meet requirements specific to both mental health and substance use disorders.
Peer support specialists share personal knowledge of what it is like to live and thrive with mental health conditions and substance use disorders. They support people’s progress towards recovery and self-fulfillment.
Peer support complements, but does not duplicate or replace the roles of therapists, case managers, and other members of a treatment team.
What is the role of a Certified Peer Specialist?
Peer specialists relate to others in a personal, non-clinical way because they have similar lived experiences. They are positive role models and offer hope to others, demonstrating by their own life that recovery is possible. Peers are often easy to talk with because they have lived through mental health and addiction issues. Peer Support is personalized to help:
- Identify and achieve healthy goals
- Learn effective coping and self-help strategies
- Monitor progress
- Use community resources
- Overcome alcohol and/or drug addictions
- Return to school or work
- Become a volunteer
- Build trusting relationships
Peer support services can effectively extend the reach of treatment beyond the clinical setting into the everyday environment of those seeking a successful, sustained recovery process.
Who is Bill Humphrey?
Bill Humphrey is a Certified Peer Specialist with lived experience in recovery from mental health/substance use disorders. He is an outdoor educator and mentor with over 25 years of experience leading programs for youth, adolescents and families. Bill has a BA and holds advanced certifications as a climbing guide and wilderness first responder. He is a Certified Peer Specialist and credentialed to serve in Lacrosse, Monroe, Jackson, Vernon and Crawford Counties.
Bill dedicates his professional and personal life to wellness and healthy connections to nature and others on the path of self-discovery. He is a husband, father and a community leader focusing on healthy masculinity, mentoring, nature connection, creativity and sober living. He is passionate about the healing power of nature and helping others gain comfort with themselves.
Bill offers a level of acceptance, understanding and validation not often found in other professional relationships. By sharing his own lived experience and practical guidance Bill helps people develop goals and create strategies for self-empowerment. Bill is a guide who helps others take steps towards a fulfilling life journey, working with the inherent strength and capacity that each person is born with. Bill emphasizes each person’s natural abilities, interests, knowledge, resources, aspirations as waypoints towards building a better life.
As a Certified Peer Specialist Bill is the best person to help you:
- Develop healthy coping skills
- Live a sober lifestyle
- Explore nature
- Dig deeper into recovery and wellness
- Set realistic goals and achieve goals
- Learn respectful family interactions
Bill creates “safe space” by listening attentively and without judgement, demonstrating genuine acceptance and respect. He uses positive, respectful communication in meaningful ways. Bill validates and normalizes recovery experiences with person-first language, prioritizing self-determination and choice, using empowerment strategies, practicing and teaching self-advocacy skills and fostering healthy relationships rather than isolation.
How to work with Bill Humphrey:
- Talk to your Primary Worker or Service Facilitator
- Ask for Bill Humphrey as part of your treatment team
- Identify that you would like peer services with Bill in your Treatment Plan
- Call Bill at (608) 606-9004 for your free 15-minute introduction
- E-mail email@example.com to request more information
Emerging research on Peer Support in mental health systems document that peer recovery support may result in:
- Improved relationships with treatment providers
- Decreased emergency service utilization
- Positive modeling that recovery can and does work
- Decreased substance use and depression
- Decreased rates of relapse
- Reduced use of inpatient services
- Increased social functioning
- Decreased psychotic symptoms
- Improved access to social supports
- Decreased criminal justice involvement
- Increased sense of community created through mutual sharing of experience
Certified Peer Specialists in Wisconsin are guided by and expected to work in accordance to a list of Core Competencies, a clearly defined Scope of Practice, and a Code of Ethics. Bill adheres to these standards and maintains his Peer Specialist certification with continuing education and clinical supervision.