This presentation is designed to teach members and department leaders the components of a working peer support program. Dena Ali explains the development of the North Carolina Peer Support Team, and how we built resources for the team. She also will discuss partnerships with other national leading peer support programs such as IAFF Peer Support, Illinois Firefighter Peer Support, and the Florida Firefighters Safety and Health Collaborative.
Peer Supporters learn the components of behavioral health and the commonality of behavioral health disorders. They serve as advocates for mental health and become a first line of defense for a member who may be suffering in silence. The three main components of peer support are active listening, confidentiality, and action planning. Peer Supporters learn that active listening is the cornerstone of peer support. They are taught techniques and advantages of proper active listening. They recognize that their job is not to counsel or solve another member’s problem, but to simply be there, nonjudgmentally, and know the proper resources for referral. Finally, peer supporters are taught to help the member in need develop and implement an action plan.