Peer Resource Center - MIRECC / CoE
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MIRECC / CoE

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Peer Resource Center

  VA Peer Support  


The VISN 4 MIRECC Peer Resource Center at VA Pittsburgh Health Care System is a Center dedicated to providing consulting services, training, evaluation and monitoring, and advocacy. Led by Matthew Chinman, PhD, the Center offers consulting services to programs or departments hoping to initiate, expand or improve peer support services. We coordinate training and education opportunities with local and national experts who are experienced in this field.

What is peer support?

Peer support occurs when people with the same type of problems help each other. In the VHA, Peer Specialists (PSs) are VA employees who help Veterans with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders to successfully engage in their treatment. They promote recovery by sharing their own recovery stories, providing encouragement, instilling a sense of hope, and teaching skills to Veterans.

What does the research say about peer support?

Studies have shown that peer support providers are often better able to:
  • Empathize
  • Access social services
  • Respond to clients' strengths and desires
  • Be tolerant, flexible, patient, and persistent
Click here for information about ongoing and past VA studies of peer support.

History of Peer Specialists in VA

2006: About 125 "Peer Support Techs" first hired in VA

2008: First Director of Peer Support hired

2012: About 150 More Peer Support Techs Hired in VA; Executive Order issued for VA to hire 800 Peer Specialists

2013: 956 Peer Specialists on board

2014: Executive Action to place Peer Specialists on PACT at 25 VAMCs

2015: 1,095 Peer Specialists on board

2019: MISSION Act: Two Peer Specialists to be hired at 30 VAMCs for primary care

Contact

Peer Resource Center
VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
412-360-2852