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.

Individuals who successfully complete this training are considered trained Peer Support Specialist. To become a Certified Peer Support Specialist (CPSS), verification of current employment with a DMH Certified Provider and credentials from DMH Division of Certification (PLACE) must be obtained.

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

Upcoming Trainings:

Peer Bridger Training

The Mississippi Public Health Institute is working with the Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH) to coordinate Peer Bridger training to assist with the development of services. Sessions will be conducted virtually via Zoom and repeated, offering more opportunities to meet your calendar needs. To register, click on the date below of the session you want to attend.

Due to limited training space, priority will be given as follows in this order for Peer Support Specialists:

  • Currently employed Peer Bridger
  • Certified Peer Support Specialist
  • Those individuals who have successfully completed the Peer Support Specialist Training.

Components of Recovery Training

The Department of Mental Health, in cooperation with the Mississippi Public Health Institute, the Association of Mississippi Peer Support Specialists, and the Mental Health Association of South Mississippi, is pleased to provide a training series on Components of Recovery, Part 1 and 2. The training is specifically developed for Certified Peer Support Specialist. Both sessions will be offered twice and you can choose which date(s) works best for you. Please see the linked flyers for additional information and registration. Once you have registered, you will receive a Zoom invitation link one week prior to the training session.

  • Part 1 – Click here for a flyer with details
  • Part 2 – Click here for a flyer with details

The scheduled 2021 trainings and deadlines for the designations CPSS-Adult & Recovery, CPSS-Parent/Caregiver, CPSS-Young Adult and CPSS Professional Supervisor will be held:

CPSS Trainings and Registration/Documentation Deadlines:

  • July 26-30, 2021 – Virtual Training (Deadline: July 2, 2021)
  • September 27 – October 1, 2021 – Virtual Training (Deadline: August 30, 2021)
  • November 15-19, 2021 – Virtual Training (Deadline: October 18, 2021)

CPSS Supervisor Trainings and Registration/Documentation Deadlines:

  • September 23, 2021 – Virtual Training (Deadline: August 27, 2021)

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.

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, please contact Dr. LaTarsha Michael or Kathy Smith at DMH Central Office at 601-359-1288.