University of Rochester Peer Specialist in Rochester, New York


Full Time 40 hours Grade 077 Psychiatry SMH Addiction Psych




General Purpose:

With some latitude, this position works in both an inpatient and an outpatient setting under the direction of clinical staff that has overall responsibility for the clients’ safety and treatment. The focus of this position is to provide services that empower individuals who receive mental health services to regain personal control over their lives and over their own recovery process. The position provides a role model for recipients and helps them to learn to function and integrate into the community.


Development and application of personalized coping skills; assist clients in identifying and practicing individualized skills to deal with their psychiatric symptoms.

  • Engage clients by building rapport and trust.
  • Interact with clients as a peer and share common experiences.
  • Facilitate clients’ exploration and understanding of their psychiatric symptoms and assist client in identifying areas in which they need support.
  • Assist clients in identifying their own individual warning signs of relapse and in identifying and developing specific, individual coping strategies.
  • Assist clients in developing a crisis plan and crisis management skills.

Teaching and modeling self-help techniques, self-help group process, and networking skills.

  • Convene and facilitate self-help groups and activities.
  • Teach self-help techniques and self-help group process skills to clients.
  • Facilitate the establishment of peer support networks, natural supports, and social support systems.

Development of skills for empowerment and successful community living.

  • Help clients develop assertiveness and communication skills in order to facilitate their active participation in the treatment planning process.
  • Assist clients in carrying out tasks defined in their treatment plans.
  • Teach clients skills in daily living, learning, working, socializing, recreating, parenting, and/or other skills that are relevant to the individual’s rehabilitation goals.

Teaching individual and system advocacy skills.

  • Teach clients how to negotiate bureaucracies and service systems.
  • Provide entitlement information and teach clients how to advocate for themselves in obtaining entitlements.
  • Assist clients in identifying and learning how to exercise their rights.
  • Teach skills that enable clients to advocate for the needs of people with psychiatric disabilities within the mental health system and within generic human service delivery systems.
  • Provide education and training on client issues and perspectives to mental health and generic human services providers.


Associate's degree in appropriate discipline plus 2-3 years specialized experience in related field; or equivalent combination of education and experience.

Prefer two years of active participation in mental health self-help activities, peer support or peer advocacy programs, or client-run organizations; or similar experiences and programs. Demonstrated interpersonal communication skills and the ability to empathize with, relate to, and effectively work with clients of mental health services. Knowledge of coping skills for dealing with symptoms of psychiatric disability and basic knowledge of: mental health self-help techniques and self-help group process; goals and objective of the mental health consumer/survivor/ex-patient movement; mental health service delivery system and of clients rights within that system; and generic human services delivery systems and entitlement programs.

Ability to verbally engage and empathize with clients based on common experiences; exhibit patience, and encourage and support clients; teach skills to individuals and small groups; facilitate group meetings; and assertively advocate for clients and negotiate with service providers. Prefer certification as recovery peer advocate and/or certified peer specialist.

EOE Minorities/Females/Protected Veterans/Disabled

Job Title: Peer Specialist

Location: Strong Memorial Hospital

Job ID: 202662

Regular/Temporary: Regular

Full/Part Time: Full-Time