About NAPS

The National Association of Peer Supporters (iNAPS) is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization, which started with a small group of peer support specialists in Michigan. Founded in 2004, the organization now includes members from every state and several countries outside the USA. Members of this network come together to share their ideas and innovations, exchange resources and information, and provide unified consensus concerning issues affecting peer supporter communities. We are actively and intentionally working on making NAPS a more inclusive and safe space for individuals who have historically been marginalized. We aim to ensure that all cultures and communities have a place to join in support of increasing, enhancing, and sustaining peer support in diverse communities throughout the USA and globally.

Our Mission

Our mission is to grow the peer support profession by promoting the inclusion of peer specialists throughout healthcare and other community systems worldwide.

Join us as we expand our grassroots movement in new and exciting ways. In demonstrating supportive relationships and friendships, the organization and all of those we influence along the way will become stronger. And we even have fun and develop supportive peer support relationships while working on projects together.
We learn together and grow in our ability to…..
• Demonstrate compassion and hope
• Gain Understanding of the human experience
• Advocate on behalf of peer supporters
• Combat stigma associated with people addressing mental health, substance use, or trauma experiences
• Increase awareness of the benefits of hiring peer support specialists
• Disseminate research about the peer support workforce

Our Vision:  Our vision is that peer support is a viable option for anyone who wants the mutuality of a compassionate peer support relationship.

As an organization with international connections, we advocate for the national and worldwide wisdom that peer support providers have gained from their own experiences to be an important component in health care and in system transformation.

We believe peer supporters are, in many locations, an untapped resource for the health care system and those who are being served. We want to ensure that peer support is available for all people, everywhere. We also aim for better working conditions, compensation, and the adoption of trauma-informed and recovery-oriented practices.

Definition of a Peer Supporter

A peer supporter is an individual with a life-altering lived experience of psychiatric, substance use, or other challenges who has made a personal commitment to his or her own recovery and has a desire to use what was learned from one’s own lived experiences to assist others with similar challenges.

Lived experience alone does not make someone a peer supporter. Peer support specialists relevant training (determined on a state-by-state basis) on using personal experiences to inspire hope, and support someone in taking personal responsibility. Peer supporters promote increased self-awareness, self-determination, self-advocacy, and a sense of empowerment in those receiving recovery support services.
In 2012, the National Association of Peer Specialist (NAPS) embarked upon an inclusive process, with assistance from a panel convened by SAMHSA, to establish National Practice Guidelines for the emerging profession of Peer Support, as a first step in a possible national credential.
Following a series of national focus groups and surveys, in which over 1000 peer support providers participated, 98% agreed with the core values and practice guidelines, which were published in the summer of 2013 as the National Practice Guidelines for Peer Supporters.

In 2018, NAPS embarked on a similar process to develop National Practice Standards for Peer Support Supervisors.

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