by Bill Deavel, Peer Support Coordinator
December 16, 2022
The Peer Support Specialist Committee was formed in 2020. It was established so that the peer support workforce had a group of people representing the workforce, willing to take on challenges and work towards finding and implementing solutions for issues. The Peer Support Specialist Committee process involves collaboration from all of its committee members and seeks input from the cBHPSS workforce as a whole. This committee was developed less than 3 years after the first peer support specialist became certified in September of 2018, so our workforce was still fairly new. One of the first things that this committee advocated for was not having to manage medications for the peers that we are serving as that responsibility falls outside our scope of practice. The second thing this committee advocated for was having representation on the board that governs our profession, the Board of Behavioral Health. We believe it’s imperative to have a voice when decisions are being made that will affect our profession and our livelihood. We took it to legislation with much support and were victorious in our efforts, gaining a cBHPSS seat on the Board of Behavioral Health. Our theme when taking on that project became “nothing about us without us.” This is a theme that still rings true today, in our day-to-day activities throughout all the different organizations that we work for. We are now advocating for a candidate licensure, clinical supervision to be put in statute, and to be recognized as Licensed Behavior Health Peer Support Specialist after the candidate license is fulfilled. We have a sponsor for our bill, the bill as been written, and this is where the work really begins. We started with ally outreach reaching out to other organizations throughout the state asking them for their support. The second step to this process is the legislative outreach, educating the legislature is on our bill and how it will be beneficial to our workforce and the public. Our next step, which is vital and includes much of our workforce, is to be unified when we go to the state capital to testify before the committee in advocacy for this bill.
It is exciting to be part of this process and have a positive affect for our workforce and the community and we encourage everyone to get involved. We have our Peer Support Specialist Committee meeting every Friday at 11am. We also have a platform for all CBHPSS to be able to get together and communicate about what is going on with the work that each of you are doing and to discuss what is working, not working, and what is needed to help support the work force. That meeting takes place on the first Thursday of the month at 1pm.