With lived experience, Peer Supports provide unique insights and valuable perspectives

The Peer Support team poses for a picture on September 2nd, 2022, outside of the Peer Support main office, located at 120 S 3rd St, Yakima WA.

 “He was new to sobriety, he was homeless, and he hadn’t been employed in 9 years.” We believe that no one should face the daunting task of rebuilding their life in recovery alone.

At Triumph we have introduced a new program called Peer Support to help individuals just like this in all phases of their recovery journey. Triumph serves all 39 counties in Washington State through a variety of services including inpatient and outpatient substance use treatment, mental health services, Peer Support, housing, and the award-winning Parent Child Assistance Program. 

A Peer Recovery Support Specialist is an individual who self-identifies as someone with lived experience with mental health or substance use services, either personally or through the experience of a child under 18. The peer walks alongside people on their recovery journey. A Peer Specialist at Triumph helps people to identify their goals, dream about a better feature, and create a roadmap for how to get there. Each day, a Peer Specialist spends their time meeting people where they are at. Sometimes that looks like helping them ride the bus for the first time, going to the library together to write a resume, attending an important court date with them, meeting them on their last day of inpatient treatment to accompany them home, and other endless examples.

“We are taught in our trainings that we are working ourselves out of a job,” says Virginia Sanchez, Peer Support Supervisor at Triumph. “The goal is that they need us less and less.”

Overall, 97% of patients at Triumph are low-income and live at or below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level. For many of our patients, Peers are a life-line that has never been available to them before. Peer Support at Triumph is very new, started in the summer of 2021, and currently employs five Certified Peer Specialists. The long-term goals for the program are to be working with all clients across Triumph programs, as well as doing community outreach to increase successful outcomes over longer periods of time.

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