I work in community mental health in a small community. We are preparing to hire some peer support staff but we realize that because it is such a small community, the peers we can hire will likely know some of the people they will be working with. What is the best way to handle this?

These types of issues come up frequently in small communities and rural areas. When you hire a Certified Peer Specialist, they are part of the professional workforce and are bound by the same confidentiality rules as other employees. In small towns and communities where there are few services, all staff are more likely to know people who come for services. Ongoing training and good supervision should address these issues satisfactorily. This also applies to the fact that the peer specialists may receive services in the same location in which they work. It is not always possible to fully avoid these situations and it is incumbent upon the peer specialist to report this information to their supervisor.

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