Self-help groups are just one way that persons who have severe mental illnesses help others who are coping with similar challenges. There are also other categories of peer-delivered services, which have been defined as services provided by individuals who identify themselves as having a mental illness who are specifically employed to help other consumers (Solomon, 2004; Solomon & Draine, 2001). Almost from its inception, the field of substance abuse counseling recognized the benefits of utilizing individuals recovering from alcoholism and other substance abuse disorders as regular service providers (Moxley & Mowbray, 1997). An obvious benefit of this strategy is the ability of an individual who is in recovery to truly empathize with the experiences of the persons to whom he or she is providing services. Providers who share the experience of coping with a similar illness or disability may also have an advantage over other professional providers in the length of time it takes to establish trusting relationships with service recipients. The field of mental health has been much slower to recognize these benefits, perhaps because there is greater stigma attached to having a mental illness than to a substance abuse disorder. It is interesting to note that in some substance abuse treatment settings, traditionally, counselors who are in recovery have a higher status than those who have not struggled with an addiction. By contrast, in the mental health field, peer providers have frequently been given job titles such as peer advocate that indicate their consumer status and are often relegated to paraprofessional or counselor aide roles.
Three distinct categories of peer-delivered services have been identified by Solomon (2004):
1. Peer-run or operated services (also referred to in the literature as consumer-run, consumer-operated, or consumer-delivered services)
2. Peer partnerships
We will look closely at each of these categories in the following subsections, as well as some illustrative examples of peer-delivered service programs. Note that the types of PsyR services and supports that these programs provide are quite varied. Persons who have severe mental illnesses are involved in the implementation of the full range of PsyR models described in this textbook, including employment services, residential programs, case management, and assertive community treatment.
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Alcoholism is something that can't be formed in easy terms. Alcoholism as a whole refers to the circumstance whereby there's an obsession in man to keep ingesting beverages with alcohol content which is injurious to health. The circumstance of alcoholism doesn't let the person addicted have any command over ingestion despite being cognizant of the damaging consequences ensuing from it.