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Why a Woman-Owned Business Out of Portland Oregon Is Changing the Trajectory of Peer Delivered Services (PDS) in the US

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You might be asking yourself, what is Peer Delivered Services? Even though Peer Delivered Services has proven to be a model for success across the nation, it is still misunderstood, often under-defined, and underrepresented in many fields that exceedingly benefit from the practice. 

The practice of peer-delivered services is as simple as saying receiving services from someone who has been through what you are going through. For instance, would you want to take advice from someone regarding homeownership if they had never owned a home? Would you find value in resources given to you by someone who has never used them? 

Peer-delivered services are an evidence-based practice in Behavioral Health according to SAMHSA The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and according to decades of research and individual and collective transformation have proven that peer-delivered services are not only the answer to care that is personally developed and led; it also provides data and efficacy for the future design of those services. Who better to help us design services than those using them? 

Peer Delivered Services in all social systems is a field that is growing exponentially. People who are in recovery from various challenges, including but not limited to drug addiction, mental health, physical health, family members with children who struggle, and other areas of support, are growing at rapid rates. Such that those with medical conditions and chronic disease management, law enforcement, veterans, and licensed/credentialed medical staff (who struggle with vicarious trauma, burnout, compassion fatigue, and suicide) also benefit from the vital support of Peer Delivered Services.

Individuals who have a history with a specific and intersectional dynamic of our systems of care are what we called lived experience. These individuals are now using their perspectival expertise in various settings including hospitals, insurance agencies, and state and government bodies. It is a progressive and transformative approach to wellness that has suffered a lot of bumps and bruises along the way, including wage disparities, lack of direction and implementation, the scope of practice misalignment, and stigma.

Although evidence-based and best practice, peer support is a field that still struggles to gain clarity on how to properly implement Peer Delivered Services into the current system of care.

Agencies are hiring peers with no real insight into integrating the role seamlessly and equitably into current programming. In turn, causing these professionals to suffer re-traumatization, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and burnout. There is a blind spot to the discernment in the fidelity of peer support in making the highly coveted and essential implementation successful.

AWARE consulting group, a woman-led organization based in Portland Oregon focusing on trauma awareness and culturally responsive care, is transforming the narrative. AWARE Consulting Group is an inclusive collaboration of diverse talented change-makers across the nation who are highly aware of the gaps in the current system and are pioneering a path of integration. The diversity in and integration of perspective is how our collaboration of clinicians, business owners, subject matter experts, and people with lived living experiences are transforming the current systems. TraumaAWARE is the efficacy needed to support those who provide services to our most vulnerable populations and the individuals working within their agencies.

Addiction outcomes are bleak, and suicide is ever on the rise. AWARE is creating a world-changing impact by shining a light on these deficits and creating vehicles for AWAREness and education that is restoring and revitalizing the current system.

AWARE offers training and education in Peer Delivered Services System Design and Redesign, and promotes federal fidelity-based models in Peer Implementation. They are co-creating career ladders and viable service models for equitable return on investments. Aware believes in cultural and trauma awareness and makes training available to rural populations who are burdened with the impacts of our current centralized and siloed governance systems across the nation.

AWARE is making a bold move to prevent re-traumatization in systems worldwide through intentional and co-initiated conversations about suicide, mental wellness, and how we can each do our part to save lives and heal communities. You can find more at 

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