Peers have been on the journey that patients are now struggling with. They can form rare bonds and break down barriers and help our patients open up. They usually get information we can’t from the patient, information that can provide valuable insight and can help the medical team assess the patient’s needs. – Stanford Addiction Medicine, Dual Diagnosis Clinic


Are you someone who is open to a peer relationship, wants to work on wellness and recovery, and wants to be independent and self-directed?



Join our Community Peer Program!

Our vision for this program is to increase mental wellness and encourage independence for persons with a diagnosed mental health condition through the support of their peers.

The Community Peer Program was created for those living with a mental health condition who want to maintain wellness and recovery through mentorship from a peer who has walked in your shoes.

This program is also for you if you…

  • Live in Santa Clara County
  • Want to thrive outside a hospital environment
  • You wish to be intentional about your future choices.
  • You want to learn to manage your symptoms
  • You want to develop good coping strategies
  • You wish to learn from others living with mental health conditions.
  • You want to find hope

See Community Peer Program  Participant Flyer Here.

What Can I Expect From This Program?

The peer mentor experience was a ‘gift,’ and I would tell others, ‘It’s a free program. You have nothing to lose, give it a try.’

– Participant, NAMI-SCC Community Peer Program.

Peer Connectors and Mentors are well-acquainted with the struggles, fears, isolation, and hopelessness that all who are experiencing a mental illness may face at times. They are in a unique position to relate with and understand their participant’s experience.

For up to four (4) months a Peer will provide support to the Participant in the following ways:

  • Two (2) calls per week from a Peer, lasting 15 – 30 minutes
  • One (1) visit per week, lasting 1-3 hours within the local community (Santa Clara County).
  • The Participant will set goals, practice self-care techniques, and become more independent.
  • The Peer will share resources, promote self-advocacy, and present options for growth.

After receiving treatment and following their doctor’s directions, the Participant will remain open to:

  • Attendance at support and/or recovery groups suggested by the Peer.
  • Identify and practice coping skills with the Peer that work best for the Participant.
  • Commit to meeting weekly in a common location to discuss S.M.A.R.T goals.
  • Adopt self-care routines that promote wellness and instill confidence in this Participant.

See printable Brochure

The peers in this program are NOT counselors or therapists. They do not fix, save, give advice, or set a participant straight in their time together. Instead, the peers in this program help establish S.M.A.R.T. goals, recommend resources that may assist the participant, suggest opportunities for social engagement, encourage self-advocacy with the participant’s providers, and outline potential areas for lifestyle adjustments. They share the journey of living with a mental health condition and work with the participant in taking steps towards their wellness and independence.

*Our mentors are themselves living with mental health conditions and working on their own wellness. This program is not suitable for someone looking for a friend to talk to daily or a respite for participant’s caregiver.

Read Blog “One Peer Mentor’s Journey”.

This program is offered in two ways:

  1. Peer Connector Program – Any person living with mental illness in Santa Clara County can apply to receive a NAMI peer connector. This is self-referral only. Family members and social workers cannot refer others into this program.
  2. Peer Mentor Program – Only social workers/case managers from hospitals with partnership with NAMI-Santa Clara County can refer to this program using a referral form. This is not by self-referral. Ask your mental health provider to see if they have partnership with NAMI-Santa Clara County.

1. Peer Connector Program

Who is a peer Connector?

A Peer Connector is someone who has “been there,” is now doing well in their own recovery, and wants to share hope with a Participant who also has a mental diagnosis. Peer Connectors are well-acquainted with the struggles, fears, isolation, and hopelessness that all who are experiencing a mental illness may face at times. They are in a unique position to relate with and understand their participant’s experience.

How Do I Request A Peer Connector?

Note: *Only a person with a mental health condition may request a Peer Connector. NAMI-Santa Clara County’s Community Peer Program does not accept referrals to the program from family, friends or mental health professionals.

Complete this application and submit it in one of the two following ways to receive a Peer Connector:

Application Form

  1. By Mail: Print and mail your completed application form to:
    Community Peer Program
    NAMI Santa Clara County
    1150 South Bascom Avenue, Suite 24
    San Jose, CA 95128
  2. By Email: Email your completed application form to

2. Peer Mentor Program

Who is a Peer Mentor?

A Peer Mentor works with participants referred by hospitals that have given us grants or funds. Mentors are doing well in their recovery and have additional training and experience to support participants recently discharged from hospital or intesive care programs. Mentors will guide their participants towards independance and self-determination from their own lived experience.

Who is a Peer Mentor Participant?

A person who has recently been discharged from the hospital and is working hard at wellness and recovery but needs some support.

How do I request a Peer Mentor?

We only accept referrals from a case manager or social worker from a hospital that has a partnership with NAMI-Santa Clara County for this program. Find out if your hospital or mental health provider has partnership with us. If they do, you could request for a referral to this program.

Self-referrals only for residents in the El Camino Healthcare District.Mental Health Peer Mentor Program, NAMI Santa Clara County, funded by El Camino Healthcare District