Peer support is an evidence based practice where one individual utilizes their “lived experience” (i.e. mental health, substance use, addiction, physical disability) in recovery to support another individual in their recovery journey.
Certification will regulate current and future peer support workforce through standardization. The state of Montana has been funding peer services since 2007 without regulation. The standardization of peer services will insure the following key qualities:
- Public Safety concerns are addressed such as professionalism
- Standardized training, supervision and continuing education for all peer workers
- Workforce development
- Establishment of a recovery-oriented curricula for peer supporter and behavioral health providers
- Peer Services are considered a resiliency factor for healthier communities
- Paradigm shift to “recovery-oriented” service delivery which positively impacts the human, social and financial consequences of untreated serious mental illness and substance use and or addiction
There is much evidence that peer support is a critical and effective strategy for ongoing health care and sustained behavior change for people with chronic diseases and other conditions, and its benefits can be extended to community, organizational and societal levels.
Overall, studies have found that social support:
- decreases morbidity and mortality rates
- increases knowledge of a disease
- improves self-efficacy
- improves self-reported health status
- self-care skills, including medication adherence
- reduces use of emergency services
Additionally, providers of social support report less depression, heightened self-esteem and self-efficacy, and improved quality of life. (peersforprogress.org)
This document was created by Montana’s Peer Network. For more information on peer services please visit our website at www.mtpeernetwork.org or contact our office 406-551-1058.
Senate Bill 62 has passed the 2017 legislature!
May 1 2017 – Behavioral Health Peer Support Specialist Certification is now being worked on by the Behavioral Health Board rule making committee. October 1, 2017 is the target date for certification.