Peer support programs provide an opportunity for consumers who have achieved significant recovery to assist others in their recovery journeys. Peer specialists model recovery, teach skills and offer supports to help people experiencing mental health challenges lead meaningful lives in the community. Peer specialists promote recovery; enhance hope and social networking through role modeling and activation; and supplement existing treatment with education, empowerment, and aid in system navigation.
Becoming a Peer Specialist
Peer specialists can do nearly everything concerning mental health from administrative tasks to crisis respite. Peer specialists can do their work in any number of venues: hospitals, health agencies, drop in centers, and free-standing, peer-run agencies.
All peer specialists in New York State need to meet specific requirements: at least 18 years of age, 18 online courses, and publicly (self-determined) acknowledgement that the individual has been in the past, or is now, using mental health services. Provisional certification as a Peer Specialist does not require having done 2000 hours of peer specialist work.
Training to be a Peer Specialist is currently available at no cost through The Academy of Peer Services.
The certification can be accomplished on your own, however, you will need a supervisor to verify your work and any hours you are stating as tasks of a peer specialist. Or, you may choose to use the Mental Health Association in Tompkins County. We have computers available and supplemental training for peer specialists on Mondays from 10-11 a.m. and Thursdays from 1 – 2 p.m.
For more information please contact Charles Niven, LCSW at CNiven@mhaedu.org or at (607) 273-9250, M-F, 9AM-4:30PM.