In looking at other state plans for peer services, Montana’s Peer Network quickly identified the need for standardization of peer services in Montana. That’s when the “Montana Peer Support Task Force was born. In 2012, The Addictive and Mental Disorder Division and Montana’s Peer Network collaborated to form the task force with the aim “to support and enhance the professional field of peer support for people in the process of recovery from substance use, other addictions, mental illness, or co-occurring disorders.” The task force was able to achieve its mission and goals and Governor Bullock signed Senate Bill 62 – Behavioral Health Peer Supporter Certification on March 31, 2017

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The standardization of peer services insures 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

When will I be able to get certified?

Behavioral Health Peer Support Specialist Certification rules are now being worked on by the Behavioral Health Board rule making committee. While you can’t apply for certification just yet, you can start taking the first steps towards certification by attending a 40-hour peer support training (which will almost certainly be required in the rules for certification). Montana’s Peer Network is offering trainings throughout the state for both peer supporters and their clinical supervisors. Click here to see upcoming dates and to sign up for a training near you.