Eight organizations across North Carolina will soon have more money to increase their substance abuse recovery services and to support those afflicted with the problem.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is awarding roughly $4 million among eight community-based organizations in order to increase the availability of services provided by “certified peer support specialists.”

Greensboro’s Kellin Foundation, which is getting $394,000, is one of the lucky recipients.

According to a Tuesday, Oct. 4 press release from NCDHHS, peer support specialists are “people living in recovery with mental illness and/or substance use disorder and who provide support to help others in their recovery through their lived experiences.”

The NC Certified Peer Support Specialist Program is a joint project of NCDHHS and the UNC School of Social Work’s Behavioral Health Springboard.

Peer support specialists have to meet a set of requirements before they can provide support to individuals with mental health or substance use disorders. NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for Health Mark Benton said they can play a big role in recovery.

“Peers are an integral component for many people seeking and in sustained recovery,” Benton said. “They offer acceptance, understanding and guidance to help others develop their own recovery goals. They also aid in helping others build their ‘recovery capital’ — resources and skills that can be drawn upon in the future to help sustain recovery.”

The eight organizations will also use these grant funds to enhance and supplement existing services and begin new services with the goal of increasing the number of individuals connected to community-based resources.

The other organizations receiving grant support are as follows:

•Anuvia Prevention and Recovery Center, Charlotte

•Coastal Horizons, Wilmington

•Drug Free Moore County, Carthage

•First at Blue Ridge, Ridgecrest

•Freedom House Recovery Center, Chapel Hill

•Nash UNC Healthcare Foundation, Rocky Mount

•Sunrise Community for Wellness and Recovery, Asheville As of September 2022, there were just over 4,000 certified peer support specialists in North Carolina with substance use or mental health experience.

The grants are made available with funding from the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplement Appropriations Act of 2021.