Peer Support Services

What is Peer Support?

Peer support is the term commonly used to refer to all of the activities that peer specialists perform.  According to NAMI, peer support is getting help from someone who has been there.  People with similar experiences may be able to listen, give hope and guidance toward recovery in a way that is different from, and may be just as valuable, as clinical mental health services.  Peer services include mutual support groups, peer-run programs, and services in traditional mental health agencies provided by peer support specialists.  While peer support groups may be composed entirely of people who have simply learned through their own experience, some types of peer providers undergo training and professional certification.  These individuals use their lived experiences in combination with skills training to support peers and/or family members with similar experiences.  In addition to direct services, many peer-run organizations advocate to improve opportunities for people recovering from mental illnesses.

Certified Peer Support Specialists

A CPSS is one who has successfully completed training through the Department of Mental Health (DMH).  CPSS Training will ground participants in recovery concepts and build skills in creating helpful peer relationships throughout the recovery process and focus on ethical practice for peers.  CPSS designations are Adult and Recovery, Parent/Caregiver and Young Adult.  Adult and Recovery refers to a person who has personal lived experience with a behavioral health diagnosis (mental illness and/or substance use disorder) who can demonstrate his or her own efforts in self-directed recovery.  A Parent/Caregiver refers to a biological/adoptive parent or a relative caregiver with permanent legal custody who is raising or has raised a child with an emotional, social, behavioral and/or substance use disability.  A Young Adult refers to a person between 18 and 26 years old with lived experience with a behavioral health diagnosis (mental illness and/or substance use disorder) who can demonstrate his or her own efforts in self-directed recovery.  Applications are available through the link below labeled CPSS Documents.  Applicants will be notified of acceptance after applications have been reviewed.

To become a CPSS, a test must be completed with a passing score of at least 75%, verification of current employment with a DMH Certified Provider, and credentials from the DMH Division of Professional Licensure and Certification (PLACE) must be obtained.

The Certified Peer Support Specialist Professional (CPSSP) Supervisor Training is designed for agency administration/management and CPSSP Supervisors.  Effectively incorporating this workforce into the current provider workplace is greatly dependent upon the quality of the relationship between the peer specialist and his/her supervisor.  This training will focus on:

  • Preparing the organizational culture for peer support
  • Supervision of CPSSPs
  • Role of CPSSPs
  • Recruitment, hiring, and retention of CPSSPs

PEER BRIDGERS

The purpose of the Peer Bridger Project is to improve the transition process from inpatient care to a community-based level of care, improve the quality of life, reduce the need  for readmission, and increase the number of individuals who attend follow-up appointments.  Intensive peer support services are provided by State Certified Peer Bridger Support Specialists who have had experience living with mental health and substance use challenges.

For more information about peer support services, please contact Kathy Smith or

Dr. LaTarsha Michael at DMH Central Office at 601-359-1288.

UPCOMING TRAININGS

CPSS Trainings and Registration/Documentation Deadlines:

  • January 10-14, 2022 – Virtual Training (Application Deadline: December 3, 2021)
  • March 21-25, 2022 – Virtual Training (Application Deadline: February 21, 2022)
  • May 16-20, 2022 – Virtual Training (Application Deadline: April 18, 2022)
  • July 18-22, 2022 – Virtual Training (Application Deadline: June 20, 2022)
  •  September 12-16, 2022 – Virtual Training (Application Deadline: August 15, 2022)
  • November 14-18, 2022 – Virtual Training (Application Deadline: October 17, 2022)

CPSS Supervisor Trainings and Registration/Documentation Deadlines:

  • January 27, 2022 – Virtual Training (Form Deadline: January 14, 2022)
  • April 28, 2022 – Virtual Training (Form Deadline: April 15, 2022)
  • August 25, 2022 – Virtual Training (Form Deadline: August 12, 2022)
  • October 27, 2022 – Virtual Training (Form Deadline: October 14, 2022)

What is a Certified Peer Support Specialist?

Certified Peer Specialists Success Stories

Community Integration               CPSS Documents                 Employment Opportunities