Through our Peer Services program, GOBHI supports our providers and healthcare partners within the EOCCO service area in the recruitment and training of Traditional Health Workers (THWs). Our staff serve in leadership roles to promote and expand the utilization and capacity of state-certified THWs throughout the region. THWs are integrated into all aspects of physical health and behavioral health.
THW is an umbrella term for frontline public health workers who work in a community or clinic under the direction of a licensed health provider.
THWs are community members with similar lived life experiences as the people they serve. THWs have historically provided person and community-centered care by bridging communities and the health systems that serve them, increasing the appropriate use of care by connecting people with health systems, advocating for health plan members, supporting adherence to care and treatment, and empowering individual to be agents in improving their own health.
Traditional Health Worker Types
Community Health Worker: Assists members of the community to improve their health and increases the capacity of the community to meet the health care needs of its residents and achieve wellness. CHWs provide health education and information that is culturally appropriate to the individuals served, assists community residents in receiving the care they need, may give peer counseling and guidance on health behaviors and may provide direct services such as first aid or blood pressure screening.
Peer Support Specialist: Individuals providing services to another individual who shares a similar life experience with peer support specialists (addiction to addiction, mental health condition to mental health condition, family member of an individual with a mental health condition to a family member of an individual with a mental health condition).
There are four types of Peer Support Specialists:
Family Support Specialist: A person, based on similar life experiences, provides support services to and has experience parenting a child who: (a) Is a current or former consumer of mental health or addiction treatment, or (b) is facing or has faced difficulties in accessing education, health, and wellness services due to mental health or behavioral health barriers.
Youth Support Specialist: An individual who, based on a similar life experience, provides supportive services to an individual who: (a) is not older than 30 years old, and (b) is a current or former consumer of mental health or addiction treatment; or is facing or has faced difficulties in accessing education, health, and wellness services due to mental health or behavioral health barriers.
Recovery Peer: A person in addiction recovery with two years of abstinence who provides support services to people seeking recovery from addiction
Mental Health Peer: A person with lived experience of mental health who provides support services to other people with similar experiences.
If you or your client have recently visited the emergency department for a mental health crisis, please utilize this document: Advocating for your loved one during a crisis: A guide for parents and caregivers while at the hospital emergency department.