Peer Support


Wellness Starts With Confidence
Wellness Group attended a Personal Safety Seminar at Twin Dragons Martial Arts & Fitness

Peer Support Services

Peer Support Services (PSS) are specialized therapeutic services conducted by trained paraprofessionals who are current or former clients of mental health services.

The Peer Support Program at Aiken-Barnwell is person centered with a recovery focus. This service allows clients the opportunity to direct their own recovery and advocacy processes. It is a helping relationship between clients and Peer Support Specialists that promotes respect, trust, and warmth and empowers clients to make changes and decisions to enhance their lives.

The Peer Support staff operates the Drop In Center “The Recovery Zone” (Aiken SC). In addition, they provide individual and group activities; coordinate the Peer Support Mentoring Program to train clients interested in becoming a Peer Support Specialist; provide Double Trouble Groups; Assist with Psychiatric Advance Directives & WRAP planning; and facilitate a Support Group for Ladies who have a history of abuse/violence. Services are provided on site at the Mental Health Center and satellite offices as well as in the community.


  • Enhance consumer empowerment
  • Enhance consumer advocacy skills
  • Decrease hospitalizations
  • Decrease symptoms
  • Enhance quality of life

Services include:

  • Self-Help- helping you make informed independent choices.
  • Self-Improvement-helping you increase self-worth and self-esteem.
  • Advocacy-assistance with letter writing and/or phone calls in reference to mental health issues and recovery. Facilitating volunteerism or working for a cause and advocating for treatment when needed.
  • Crisis Support
  • Housing
  • Education & Employment
  • Social Network
  • Psychiatric Advance Directives

Services can be provided at intake, during assessment, through relapse, and during discharge planning. Services can be provided individually or as a group service.

HERO Center

The H.E.R.O. Center was established on October, 24, 2007 and stands for “Helping Encourage Recovery Options.”  This center is based on Shared Decision Making. This is a person centered clinical method that encourages clients and clinicians to collaborate on treatment decisions. Clients will be assisted by a Certified Peer Support Specialist to gather information to learn about their diagnosis, how it impacts a client’s life, learn about types of interventions including life style changes, talk therapies, medication interventions, living wills, power of attorney, legal procedures, advanced directives and a host of other things. Certified Peer Support Specialists will use a variety of resources to help gather this information including DVDs, books, articles, websites, & audiotapes. Clients will also be taught how to use a “decision guide” to determine which issues they would like to focus on when meeting with therapists or other members of the treatment team.

The Shared Decision Making Model is currently being used by the Dartmouth Medical Center in New Hampshire and the Wyandot Center in Kansas City, KS. Aiken-Barnwell is pleased to receive the support and mentoring on this project from the following people and institutions: Dr. Robert Drake and Katherine Clay of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center; Charlie Rapp and Melanie Reifer of the Wyandot Center in Kansas City, KS; and Dr. Patricia Deegan of  Pat Deegan PhD and Associates, LLC.  Aiken-Barnwell is proud to have Mental Health America-South Carolina as our partner.