To identify, equip, train, certify, and further educate peers with the skills required to provide relationship building and trauma informed peer support for people utilizing behavioral health services.
Peer Support is an evidence based practice. People with lived experience with mental health, substance abuse, and/or gambling conditions provide mentoring to others in recovery and wellness skills. This mentoring is a shoulder to shoulder process where both parties, the mentor and mntee, learn and grow from the experience.
The Certified Peer Support and Wellness Specialist Training grew out of a Transformation Transfer Initiative from SAMHSA or TTI Grant in 2009. This grant allowed us to purchase training from Focus on Recovery United, which included Heather McDonald of FOR-U, Chyrell Bellamy of Yale University, and Shery Mead and Chris Hansen of Shery Mead Consulting. A curriculum for the State of Nebraska’s Office of Consumer Affairs was purchased that focuses on trauma-informed Intentional Peer Support.
A group of 9 facilitators were trained that included Ken Timmerman, Judie Moorehouse, Dan Powers, Tami Walden, Cindy Sullivan, Roni Wilder, Susan Hancock, Susan Hopson, and Paige Hruza. These facilitators along with the Office of Consumer Affairs have added curriculum in advocacy, self-advocacy, and Nebraskan specific history.
The Office of Consumer Affairs conducts one to two Peer Support and Wellness Specialist (PSWS) trainings per year. Regions co-host trainings with the Office of Consumer Affairs also for their specific region in Region 1, 5, and 6. PSWS’s work in hospitals, addiction treatment facilities, outpatient care facilities, hospital diversion services, police departments, emergency rooms, support groups, and mental health programs.
All persons that take the 40 hours of any Peer Support training are invited to sit for a statewide exam to become Certified Peer Support and Wellness Specialists. Traditionally, only 74% of folks pass the exam; we encourage folks to consider this before taking the exam. To keep one’s certification in Active Status a person must maintain quarterly co-supervision and 6 hours of continuing education annually. The Living Well curriculum offered through public health (www.livingwellne.org
) and attending the Statewide Behavioral Health Conference (www.nebraskastateconference.org
) will provide 6 continuing education credit hours. DOCUMENTS
Peer Support Training Brochure
Peer Support and Wellness Specialist Code of Ethics
Peer Support and Wellness Specialist Job Description
As of July 1, 2013 there are 159 Certified Peer Support and Wellness Specialists in Nebraska.