Peer Support Program

Peer Mentors Make a Real Difference

Research shows patients who receive intensive peer mentorship have:

  • Greater participation in peer-led self-care education classes
  • More active engagement in rehabilitation
  • Greater confidence in their abilities to manage
  • Fewer hospital readmissions


Recently injured individuals and their families meet and talk with others with a similar injury, age, and lifestyle who are successfully living with or caring for someone with a spinal cord or brain injury.


  • Role model to encourage greater independence
  • Demonstrate functional skills and activities patients think may not be possible and encourage sensible risk-taking
  • Share coping skills to effectively deal with problems
  • Serve as support so that patients/families feel less alone

How Peer Support Is Done

  • Self-care education classes
  • One-on-one meetings
  • Group meetings
  • During therapy sessions
  • During community outings
  • On the phone and via FaceTime
  • E-mail
  • Social media

Patients/families decide the method of support based on their needs and preferences.
To talk with a peer mentor is to talk to someone who knows firsthand about living with SCI and brain injury.

Peers Share Insight On

  • Activities of daily living
  • Self-advocacy and resourcefulness
  • Accessibility and mobility barriers
  • Education and employment
  • Recreation and leisure
  • Managing relationships and feelings
  • Intimacy and sexuality
  • Parenting
  • Attendant Care
  • Effective use of time and energy
  • Coping with self and body image
  • Community resources


Download our brochures for spinal cord injury peer support and brain injury family peer support.

Interested in becoming a peer mentor for adolescents and young adults? Download our Shepherd Center Adolescent and Young Adult Peer Support Program brochure to learn more.

For more information, contact Pete Anziano at 404-350-7373 or