Self-help peer-support groups in Israel emerged in the 1980s and, over time, dynamically interacted and co-developed with the statutory mental health (MH) system. In this editorial, I outline historical milestones of how the evolution of the Israeli mental health system was influenced by the consumer movement. A brief depiction of the consumer movement history. At first, consumers operated outside of the mainstream MH system. Gradually, consumer groups and institutional personnel joined efforts towards community integration and enhancement of quality of life, pushing forward a person-centered recovery orientation. In turn, some administrators and key stakeholders in rehabilitation community services grew to value the impact of knowledge-by-experience in contemporary mental health care. In this context, over the past decade, peer roles were developed in the mental health system, including consumer-providers in community services and peer specialists in inpatient psychiatric hospitals. The insertion of peer roles into the mainstream MH system is far-reaching, including the placement of a peer-project coordinator within the ministry of health. I describe the unique contribution of peers, as experts-by-experience, to mainstream professional knowledge and practice. I also highlight the potential challenges involved when peer models of care are added to traditional medical models of care. The Israeli case demonstrates how the consumer movement can play an active role in MH systems and be acknowledged and recognised as a partner for changing policy, practice and reshaping formal institutions. In addition, they play a vital role in the development of peer-support services.