6th Annual MS School for Addiction Professionals
More than 500 People Attend Alzheimer’s Conference
“Drawing on Our Collective Wisdom,” the 13th Annual Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease and Psychiatric Disorders in the Elderly was held August 15 – 17, 2012 in Olive Branch. This is the only statewide Conference on Alzheimer’s disease designed to meet the needs of both professionals and caregivers.
Mississippi Selected for Youth Diversion Grant
Mississippi is one of the eight states competitively selected to participate in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Collaborative, Improving Diversion Policies and Programs for Justice Involved Youth with Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders.
Sandra Parks and Pam Smith of DMH wrote the proposal with collaboration from Judge Bill Skinner at Hinds County Youth Court, August Patton and Marva Clark from Hinds Behavioral Health Services, Ray Simms and Zach Pattie from the Department of Public Safety, and Annie Gray from MS Families As Allies.
These eight individuals traveled to Washington D.C. in June to develop a plan for:
- increasing communication among local agencies in Hinds County;
- maximizing existing funding streams and explore grant opportunities;
- improving the screening and assessment of youth at the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center; and
- improving follow-through for those youth referred to other agencies/programs.
The first “home” team meeting was held June 13 and included participation from the Department of Human Services, Division of Medicaid, Henley Young Juvenile Justice Center, Hinds County Youth Court, Hinds Behavioral Health Services, MS Families As Allies, Department of Public Safety, DMH’s Division of Children & Youth Services, and DMH’s Bureau of Alcohol & Drug Services.
First Certified Peer Support Specialist Training Held
Three of Mississippi’s Certified Peer Support Specialist (CPSS) Trainers conducted their first Certified Peer Support Specialist Training on June 5-8 in West Point.
The CPSS Training is an intensive 34 hour course followed by a written exam. The CPSS curriculum was developed by Ike Powell and Larry Fricks of the nationally and internationally-recognized Appalachian Consulting Group (ACG). Larry Fricks’ recovery story was published by HarperCollins in the New York Time’s best-selling book Strong at the Broken Places by Richard M. Cohen and was featured on the Today Show.
The CPSS training was attended by 23 individuals who self-identify as a family member or an individual who received or is currently receiving mental health services. Upon completion of the training, successfully passing the CPSS examinations, and obtaining employment by a DMH certified provider, participates will become Certified as Peer Support Specialists. The CPSS Program provides acknowledgment that the peer has met a set of requirements necessary to provide support to individuals with mental health, substance abuse, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and or family members. The training and certification process prepares CPSSs to promote hope, personal responsibility, empowerment, education, and self-determination in the communities in which they serve
Under the general supervision of a mental health professional, a CPSS may perform a wide range of peer support services. Peer support services include advocacy, education, development of natural supports, and support of work or other meaningful activity of the person’s choosing. Services may also include crisis support, wellness activities, effective utilization of the service delivery systems, service coordination and linkage to other service providers.
Key to the successful implementation of CPSSs in service delivery roles is the understanding of what creates recovery and how to build environments conducive to recovery. This role is not interchangeable with traditional staff that works from the perspective of their training and status as licensed health care providers. Certified Peer Specialists work from the perspective of “having been there.” Through their lived experience with recovery, they lend unique insight into mental illness, substance abuse, and intellectual and developmental disability and what makes recovery possible.
Certified Peer Support Specialist are first degree family members and/or people living in recovery with mental illness, substance abuse, and intellectual and developmental disabilities that provide support to others who can benefit from their lived experiences. Mississippi defines recovery as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”
CPSS Training participants are preparing for the upcoming CPSS examination and excited about the opportunity to provide peer support to others. Del Pilar Clemente stated, “The CPSS training is a beautiful opportunity to be a part of the solution. Society as we know it will be taken by storm with this new concept.”
After successful completion of the training, the participants will join 17 CPSS certified by the DMH PLACE Review Board.