Our PeerLINK Program has branched out in October 2015. We now have two components to our PeerLINK Program. One is our former PeerLINK Recovery Services and the other is our PeerLINK Intensive Care Services that brings forth a collaboration of a variety of peer services with crisis stabilization units and state psychiatric hospitals.

PeerLINK Recovery Services

In 2007 TMHCA developed a peer-based recovery program called PeerLINK in an effort to reduce inpatient hospital stays and improve the quality of life for those coping with and recovering from a mental illness and/or substance use disorder.

PeerLINK is designed to match a team of Certified Peer Recovery Specialists with an individual who is in need of immediate care or will soon be discharged from local psychiatric hospital or treatment center. Services include peer mentoring, support, advocacy, and skill building through regular, individual contact and group sessions. The primary function of the program is the development of a supportive and trusting relationship between the person in recovery and a team of people with similar life events or experiences.

Programs like PeerLINK work because they are based upon peers helping peers. Peer support-structured programs have shown successful, long-term results and are extremely cost-effective within the mental health and substance use disorder system.

To be eligible for PeerLINK a person must be enrolled in TennCare, Tennessee’s Medicaid program that provides health care for approximately 1.3 million Tennesseans.

Questions Contact: Jasmine Cain |  ph: (615) 571-4145 | email: [email protected]


PeerLINK Intensive Care Services

The Tennessee Mental Health Consumers’ Association (TMHCA) Peer Engagement Project is designed to connect people with mental health conditions and/or substance use disorders following psychiatric hospitalization and/or being in a crisis stabilization unit to appropriate community-based services, supports, and facilities that can meet the patient’s post-discharge clinical, social and environmental needs. The Project will minimize the likelihood that a person will “relapse” or have to return to care post successful completion of treatment. The service will be offered by a Peer Bridger.

Peer Bridger

A Peer Bridger is a person with lived experience of a mental health condition or substance use disorder who has recovered a meaningful life in the community and that is credentialed as a Certified Peer Recovery Specialists (CPRS) by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) to help others on the path to recovery from mental illness or substance abuse. The CPRS program began in 2007. Since then, there has been over 525 Certified Peer Recovery Specialists accredited in Tennessee.

Role of the Peer Bridger

There may be times when a person needs the specialized care of a psychiatric hospital or crisis stabilization unit. It could be the best option to guarantee someone’s safety under certain circumstances including the threat of suicide or being unable to care for oneself for a lengthy period of time. Peer Bridger’s, who role model the hope and possibilities of recovery every day, will be working alongside hospital staff and patients during their inpatient psychiatric stay to:

• Increase the patient’s knowledge of evidence-based and/or promising practice support services used to prevent and treat mental and substance use disorders.
• Assist patient in developing a recovery/stabilization plan using Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP®) which is an evidence-based program. The Plan helps the patient develop a Wellness Toolbox and a Daily Maintenance Plan allowing the patient to leave inpatient care with a self-developed treatment/wellness plan.
• Provide necessary community resources prior to/during discharge. This means tapping into community resources that have next-day access.
• Assist with discharge planning. Lack of discharge planning can cause the disturbance in the care of the patient which is considered as one of the most significant obstacles to establishing a stable recovery. Multiple health providers for a single patient can be confusing. Continuity of care can only be achieved by interventions to establish personal and specific linkages between the discharging facility and the aftercare provider.
• Assist with “Non-psychiatric obstacles” such as safe shelter and transportation that serves as difficult barriers to aftercare and recovery.
After a person is discharged from a psychiatric hospital or crisis stabilization unit they have very little follow-up or support prior to their first clinical appointment that could be up to fourteen days. During this time patients are most vulnerable and it is the time when recidivism could likely occur. Suicide risks are higher during the period immediately following discharge than at any other time. Some risks are due to medications that could cause severe to life-threatening side effects including new or worsening depression or anxiety, insomnia and mania. The TMHCA Peer Engagement Project uses an integrated support strategy to reduce and/or eliminate recurring hospitalizations by assisting patients to develop a multi-disciplinary plan with a full array of community supports to address their urgent clinical, peer, social and environmental needs.

To reduce the need for repeat psychiatric hospitalizations the Peer Bridger will provide assistance immediately following discharge from the hospital by:

• Making contact with the patient within 24 hours after discharge.
• Coordinate, schedule, and/or attend (with) patient’s first appointment.
• Assist with recovery planning after of discharge.
• Provide guidance and education about medication treatment, its response and side effects; and the importance of patient adherence to taking prescribed medications.
• Make weekly contact for 90 days after discharge.

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) serves as a significant partner in the Peer Engagement Project and has done much to advance peer support services throughout the state.

The TMHCA Peer Engagement Project will improve the quality of life for Tennesseans in need of urgent psychiatric care and reduce the expensive cost of inpatient psychiatric services by providing various options currently unavailable.

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Refer a Client/Friend

Contact Jasmine Cain

Jasmine Cain, PeerLINK Recovery Services Coordinator

Phone: (615) 571-4145

Fax: (615) 810-9454

Address: 3931 Gallatin Pike, Nashville, TN 37216

Email Jasmine

Contact Michael Lasser

Michael Lasser photo

Michael Lasser, PeerLINK Intensive Care Services Coordinator

Phone: (615) 920-2349

Fax: (615) 810-9454

Address: 3931 Gallatin Pike, Nashville, TN 37216

Email Michael

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