“I got to be the person I needed years ago.”
-Peer Support Specialist at Denver Public Library
Vulnerable populations often have complex needs requiring coordinated continuity-of-care services bridging a broad range of service providers, yet they are among those least likely to receive any recovery support services through traditional avenues. If services are positioned where at-risk populations are more able to access them, any point of intervention or service can become a hub of care and resources.
In partnership with the Colorado Mental Wellness Network, Denver Public Library, and Denver Human Services, BHWP designed and implemented a comprehensive evaluation framework of an innovative recovery program. The program expanded the network of Peer Support Specialists employed at the Denver Public Library and trained additional providers across a spectrum of organizations and agencies in the use of Wellness Recovery Action Plans (WRAP®).
Multiple lines of evidence indicated that, with the supervision of experienced social workers and the support of an established peer-run organization within the community, Peer Support Specialists installed in public libraries are an effective model for improving recovery support systems in urban settings such as Denver. Moreover, the Program made significant progress introducing Denver providers working across a broad range of social service and healthcare agencies to a recovery-oriented perspective and peer-led services, including WRAP®. This project’s outcomes and the lessons learned provide a model for other agencies in Colorado and beyond who would like to maximize the power of peers.