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The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance on peer support in Tennessee

Posted Nov 21 2013 11:26am

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance is the largest peer run organization in the United States.  It has over 1000 peer run support groups and helps through its various programs close to 4 million people a year.  It is an organization I am proud to be a member of.  Phyllis Foxworth is the Communications and Advocacy Manager for DBSA National.  She was kind enough to share her opinions about the recent recommendations made to end funding of peer support centers in Tennessee in a comment on another post.  I felt like what she had to say was important enough to share it in a stand alone post.


Peer support is a proven strategy towards achieving recovery – the ability to build on strengths to attain a full life in the community, including meaningful work, a home and friends. According to SAMSHA, 2012, peer specialists complement and increase the effectiveness of traditional mental health service models by enhancing engagement, rapport and advocacy.

Additionally, creating an environment of wellbeing and support is a part of the framework of an effective suicidal ideation recovery program. Research shows that peer support group members experience a significant decrease in family stress, improvement in interpersonal relationships and an increase in the number of supported persons. Peers in the process of recovery are excellent role models and have much experiential knowledge dealing with common concerns and problems.

We strongly recommend that the state of Tennessee consider the overall long-term cost savings to providing quality mental health treatment for all its citizens. People living with mood disorders do recover when they have access to quality mental health care. They lead productive lives, hold gainful employment, add to the wellness of their communities and contribute to the tax base through payment of real estate taxes and state income tax. For more information on the benefits of peer support visit the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance web site

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