Peer Wellness

Peer Wellness Services are composed of individuals who have lived experiences with mental health and/or substance abuse challenges. Each Peer Wellness Specialist (PWS) goes through an intensive state-approved training program that teaches them to use their lived experience to provide advocacy and support for other individuals with similar challenges. PWS services promote engagement in therapeutic and wellness activities, both of which helps participants reach their goals.

Since PWSs have lived experience, they are living proof that it is possible for people to recover from mental health and/or substance abuse challenges. PWSs help participants navigate the complex health care system, and offer support and mentoring as they access services for whole health (including behavioral, primary care and housing).

To receive support from a PWS, interested Cascadia clients should discuss it with their case manager.

If not a Cascadia client, please contact our Cascadia Access, Information & Referral (CAIR) at 503-674-7777 (Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

Peer Wellness Training Program

Do you have lived experience with mental health and/or substance issues and want to help others by becoming a peer wellness or peer support specialist?

Ideal candidates self-identify that they have received or are receiving psychiatric services. Ideal candidates also have a personal understanding of mental health recovery, a desire to help others and are committed to their own wellness and self-care.

After completing the application process and are accepted into the program, candidates enter an intensive Oregon Health Authority approved training program. In this training program, candidates learn:

  • Ethics and boundaries training
  • Mentoring skills
  • Peer counseling
  • Individual and group wellness activity skills

By training people who have lived through mental health challenges and have learned to cultivate their own well-being, they, in turn, support their peers in making healthy lifestyle choices. Peer Specialists help clients address lifestyle and risk factors before they reach a crisis stage.


This training program has been approved by the Oregon Health Authority to provide certification training for traditional health workers. Fees for courses are due two weeks prior to the start date of the class and are non-refundable.