24 tips to increase Peer Leadership In Your State

Here are my thoughts on some innovative ways to increase peer leadership in your state. This was a conversation that came from SCOPE, an organization of peer in Missouri. The acronym stands for Support Consumer Operated Program Enhancements, but unfortunately, leadership didn’t do a good job developing joint problem solving capacities of the members and it just turned into a reporting mechanism for the state to monitor the peer programs. They put out a call for ideas and I sent them this and got no response. So this is re-post so that other people may be able to use the ideas.

Peer leadership helped create the Pillowcase Project. Here an artist from the Forensic Unit at Fulton State Hospital talks about what's on the inside.

Peer leadership helped create the Pillowcase Project. Here an artist from the Forensic Unit at Fulton State Hospital talks about what’s on the inside.

Let peers have the same recognition as professionals:

  1. Recognize that our experience is as useful if not more useful than a degree
  2. Have some peer positions at the mental health centers that pay equivalent to an MSW.
  3. Give our experience equal priority as book training.
  4. Measure outcomes data for peer and traditional programs, and shift funding by merit.  (More will go to more peer programs.)
  5. Give 2-4 substantial fellowships to state peer leaders to do mental health advocacy.
  6. Hire a peer to do full-time mental health lobbying at the state level to rally peers for grassroots campaigns.
  7. Put the full state mental health  budget online, and let peers vote on allocations.
  8. Increase administrative efficiencies.

Peer Leadership  Needs Business Skills and Social Messaging

  1. Learn about accounting.
  2. Learn about scaling up a business.
  3. Go to business networking events.
  4. If one phone number could handle all the calls in Missouri, why have five warm lines? How much info given is local vs. non-local? Maybe each warm-line could specialize to a different audience?
  5. Have a central website with very easy input parameters so all people could easily submit news and blogs.
  6. Use trained people to review the Medication Clinical Edits.
  7. Give a financial kickback to people trained to help folks off meds and reduce medication spending.
  8. Train people to inspect nursing homes with financial kickback for getting people back in independent living.

Central Website and Marketing Materials

  1. Nancy Bollinger from the Self-help center in St. Louis poses with the Please Cut our Budget T-shirt. Fund complete recovery, not permanent disability.

    Nancy Bollinger from the Self-help center in St. Louis poses with the Please Cut our Budget T-shirt. Fund complete recovery, not permanent disability.

    Create a central website and Facebook for state groups with weekly updates that could replace all news and updates

  2. Marketing materials with publicity that is cheaper than color tri-fold brochures.
  3. Put together a solid fact sheet on cost savings from peer-run programs.
  4. Have members tell their stories in non-disease language.
  5. Learn about social messaging and use Facebook, Twitter, Tublr, and other tools to reach new audiences
  6. Use more online marketing.
  7. Stop using wacky acronyms and initials.
  8. Use media to its full potential – images and videos go much further than words.

What are other ways increase peer leadership?

Wordworks Blog Author: Corinna West

Corinna West is the founder and creative director of Wellness Wordworks, and is an Olympic Team Member and has a Masters Degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. Her Instant Peer Support might be the first in the mental health sector to remove the need for government and charity funding by creating a profitable interaction involving only our business and our direct customers.

3 comments to 24 tips to increase Peer Leadership In Your State

  • I’m curious if you are/have created these changes in your own state/area in a way that others could use your model as a map? Talking about what others “should” or even could do is different than doing it. Seems as though the pot keeps getting stirred but are we getting anything out of it?

    • Hi Susan,
      Great to see you here. Most of this is just pipe dreams. I guess it would make a good set of goals or blueprint. In the middle section, the business skills, we have probably made the most ground. SAMHSA and the National Empowerment Center and I know some my Kansas and Missouri organizations have worked on spreading these kinds of business growth skills to our peer organizations.

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