By Dan Pineiro
Back in 2005, when I lived in California I became certified as a peer advocate. I took a paid course on how to advocate for the mentally ill. Once I graduated I received my certificate in peer advocacy. Due to the fact I had a criminal record, I did not find a job as a peer advocate instead I did volunteer work helping my peers.
Here, in New Jersey, advocates are called Peer Support Specialists and can be certified online. I’m not qualified due to my criminal record and poor driving record. Being a peer advocate or peer support specialist is a very rewarding job that a high-functioning person with a mental illness can handle. It is possible to obtain a paid career in this field.
Because I don’t qualify as a peer support specialist, I consider myself a peer volunteer and still work to help mental health consumers find mental health services.
Blog posts are written by Shore House members and staff.