NYU McSilver, Rutgers University Academy of Peer Services Co-Launch Technical Assistance Center for Peer Support Services

An image of young plants sprouting from soil, with the PeerTAC logo superimposed

NY State Office of Mental Health provides $4 million in funding for new PeerTAC program

NEW YORK — A new partnership launched in January will provide training, technical assistance, and consultation to New York State mental health practitioners and organizations using peer support services — credible service providers that share similar backgrounds, ages, and other lived experience with those in need of mental health services who may otherwise not get them.

Jointly led by the NYU McSilver Institute and the Rutgers University School of Health Professions Academy of Peer Services (APS), the Peer Support Services Technical Assistance Center (PeerTAC) is a two-and-a-half year, $4.4 million technical assistance program funded through a grant from New York State’s Office of Mental Health (OMH).

“Peer Specialists and Advocates play an increasingly important role in helping individuals and families to engage with their recovery and resilience goals,” OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said. “Peer Specialists and Youth Peer Advocates use their own lived experiences to inspire hope and help people who are receiving services to work in all areas of their life toward better health and wellness. Family peer advocates use their personal experience of supporting a family member to support other families who have children who are receiving services in the system.”

“Through individualized attention and person-centered practices, Peer Specialists and Youth Peer Advocates assist people in ways that create better health outcomes and reduce the need for inpatient services,” Dr. Sullivan said. “OMH is committed to the inclusion and expansion of Peer Support Services in mental health programming across the lifespan, and we are proud to provide funding for the development of the Peer Support Services Technical Assistance Center.”

McSilver and APS are joined in PeerTAC by core partners at Families Together in New York/Youth Power in training and supporting mental health providers, advocacy groups, and credentialing organizations to incorporate and/or bolster existing therapeutic services that utilize people whose lived experiences are an asset in reaching others in similar situations, backgrounds, and age groups.

“The benefits of PeerTAC include a robust array of learning opportunities intended to aid in the implementation of Peer Services across the lifespan. PeerTAC will foster widely accessible conversations about the integration of Peer Specialists/Advocates in settings where theirs is oftentimes a new role,” said Matthew McDonald, Administrative Assistant with Rutgers University Academy of Peer Services.

“There’s something uniquely special about connecting with a peer — someone who shares certain life choices, comes from the same community, or is the same age. This can be especially true for people accessing behavioral health services,” said Dr. Andrew F. Cleek, Deputy Executive Director at the NYU McSilver Institute. “Through the generous funding by the State Office of Mental Health, McSilver is now able to expand our technical assistance programming to bring critical support for peer services to the mental health community. Alongside our partners at Rutgers and Families Together in New York State, we look forward to working to expand peer services throughout New York State.”

Peer support services bring hope, connection, and a sense of healing to people who have experienced adversity due to mental health challenges. PeerTAC’s vision is to broaden peer support regardless of age, race, socioeconomic status, stigma, or other factors that can limit the success of mental health services.

“Families Together in New York State is excited for this incredible new resource to support the growing workforce of Youth and Family Peer Advocates across the state,” Carrie Ann Rollier, FPA-C, Director of Workforce Development and Training at Families Together in New York State said.

NYU McSilver and Rutgers University bring significant organizational experience to PeerTAC, with extensive pre-existing programming that reaches thousands of yearly participants already available to form the core of PeerTAC’s offerings. McSilver will specifically be focused on youth and family peer support roles and training.

PeerTAC held an introductory webinar for mental health providers across New York State on January 18, which is now viewable on the PeerTAC website PeerTAC.org.

Kickoff Webinar

Find additional resources to complement the webinar recording at PeerTAC.org.

About the NYU McSilver Institute

The NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research is committed to creating new knowledge about the root causes of poverty, developing evidence-based interventions to address its consequences, and rapidly translating research findings into action through policy and best practices. Learn more at mcsilver.nyu.edu and sign up for updates.

Portrait of Andrew Cleek
Andrew F. Cleek, PsyD
Deputy Executive Director