Peer Support Services

Certified Peer Support Specialist (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. Scholarships for CPSS training are available, but limited and based on availability of funds. In order to apply for a scholarship, please submit a brief essay explaining why you want to attend the Certified Peer Support Specialist Training.

Applications are available through the link below labeled CPSS Documents. Applicants will be notified of acceptance after applications have been reviewed. Contact Kathy Smith at the DMH Central Office, 601-359-1288, for more information about these trainings. Please continue to preview this web page for dates of future scheduled trainings.

Upcoming CPSS Trainings:

The following dates were scheduled in 2021 for CPSS trainings for the following designations: CPSS-Adult, CPSS-Parent/Caregiver, CPSS-Young Adult, and CPSS-Recovery. Several trainings have been canceled as of February 2021. Information about re-scheduling will be available as soon as it is finalized.

CPSS Training

  • May 17-21, 2021 – Virtual Training
  • March 22-26, 2021 – CANCELED
  • June 14-18, 2021 – CANCELED
  • September 13-17, 2021 – CANCELED

CPSS Supervisor Training

  • May 21, 2021 – Virtual Training
  • March 26, 2021 – CANCELED
  • June 11, 2021 – CANCELED
  • September 10, 2021 – CANCELED

The Certified Peer Support Specialist Professional (CPSS) Supervisor Training is designed for agency administration/management and CPSSP Supervisors. The CPSSP as a provider of services is a relatively new position in the behavioral health system. Effectively incorporating this new 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 CPSSP
  • Role of CPSSP
  • Recruitment, Hiring and Retention of CPSSP

What is a Certified Peer Support Specialist?

Certified Peer Specialists Success Stories

Community Integration               CPSS Documents                 Employment Opportunities

What is Peer Support?

Peer support has existed for decades, both formally and informally, in clubhouses, drop-in centers, and consumer-run organizations. Since the 1990s, increased attention has been paid to the importance and potential of expanding mental health staffing patterns to include “consumers as providers” within mental health service settings. 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, and may be just as valuable as professional 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 certification to qualify. In addition to direct services, many peer-run organizations advocate to improve opportunities for people recovering from mental illnesses.

An individual providing peer support is not automatically a Certified Peer Support Specialist (CPSS). Peer support services are an evidence-based mental health model of care provided by a CPSS. A CPSS is a family member and/or an individual who has self-identified as having received or is presently receiving behavioral health services. Additionally, a CPSS has successfully completed formal training recognized by the Mississippi Department of Mental Health and is employed by a DMH Certified Providers.

These individuals use their lived experience in combination with skills training to support peers and/or family members with similar experiences. CPSSs support their peers both individually and in groups. Under general supervision, a CPSS performs a wide range of tasks to assist individuals to regain control of their lives and their own recovery and resiliency process. CPSSs provide varying supports, some of which may be offered by others in the behavioral health system, but CPSSs contribute something unique. They are living proof that recovery is possible. They share lived experiences and are willing to share their stories to benefit others.

For more information about peer support services or about becoming a Certified Peer Support Specialist, contact DMH at 601-359-1288.