Peer Support Services

WHAT IS PEER SUPPORT?

Peer support is the term commonly used to refer to all 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 Specialist Professionals

A Certified Peer Support Specialist Professional (CPSSP) is one who has successfully completed the CPSSP Training provided through the MS Department of Mental Health (DMH). This training grounds participants in recovery concepts and build skills in creating helpful peer relationships throughout the recovery process and focus on ethical practice for peers. The following CPSSP training designations are Adult and Recovery, Parent/Caregiver, Young Adult, and Recovery only (must have been previously trained in one of the other three designations). Adult and Recovery designation trains individuals who have 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. Parent/Caregiver designation trains biological/adoptive parents or relative caregivers with permanent legal custody who is raising or has raised a child with an emotional, social, behavioral and/or substance use disability. Young Adult designation trains individuals 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 here or through the link below labeled “CPSS Documents.” Applicants will be notified of acceptance after applications have been reviewed.

To become a CPSSP, 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 BRIDGER PROJECT

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. These services are currently provided in behavioral health programs, community mental health centers, and crisis stabilization units.

To become a Peer Bridger Support Specialist, you must have first successfully completed the Certified Peer Support Specialist Professional (CPSSP) Training. If interested, complete a Peer Bridger Registration Form.

The Peer Bridger Supervisor Training is designed for agency administration/management overseeing Peer Bridger programs throughout the state. Its purpose is to highlight efficient ways to ensure collaborative efforts between inpatient and outpatient services designed to ensure this continuum of care are uninterrupted. If you’re overseeing a Peer Bridger program and in need of this training, please register today.

For more information about peer support services, please contact Kathy Smith or Dr. LaTarsha Michael with DMH Central Office at 601-359-1288.

 UPCOMING TRAININGS

CPSS Trainings and Registration/Documentation Deadlines:

  • March 21-25, 2022 – Virtual Training (Application Deadline: February 23, 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:

  • 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)

Peer Bridger Trainings and Registration Deadlines:

  • March 29, 2022 – Virtual Training (Registration Deadline: March 22, 2022)
  • June 21, 2022 – Virtual Training (Registration Deadline: May 31, 2022)
  • August 16, 2022 – Virtual Training (Registration Deadline: July 26, 2022)
  • October 18, 2022 – Virtual Training (Registration Deadline: September 27, 2022)

Peer Bridger Supervisor Trainings and Registration Deadlines:

  • March 31, 2022 – Virtual Training (Registration Deadline: March 10, 2022)
  • June 23, 2022 – Virtual Training (Registration Deadline: June 2, 2022)
  • August 18, 2022 – Virtual Training (Registration Deadline: July 28, 2022)
  • October 20, 2022 – Virtual Training (Registration Deadline: September 29, 2022)

What is a Certified Peer Support Specialist?

Certified Peer Specialists Success Stories

Community Integration               CPSS Documents                 Employment Opportunities