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 Behavioral Health Peer Supporter Certification on March 31, 2017.
The standardization of peer services ensures 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
Additional information about Montana state certification is available from the Board of Behavioral Health.
To apply for certification, you must:
- Complete a 40 hour peer support education program. The program must include an exam and verification must be sent to the Board by the training provider. You can get your training from MPN. Find Your Trail to Certification.
- Submit the Supervisor Agreement and Supervision Plan.
- Attest that you have a behavioral health disorder.
- 2 years in recovery with no hospitalizations or incarcerations.
- Submit a Legal and Health History Content Form
- Provide a narrative that outlines the recovery program from the behavior health disorder.
- Complete the fingerprint/background check process (includes a fee of $27.25 to the Montana Department of Justice).
- Pay a licensure fee of $125.
Certification must be renewed yearly and expire on December 31 each year.
Mentoring programs are used by 70% of Fortune 500 companies and about a quarter of smaller companies. Mentoring benefits the mentor, mentee, and the organization as a whole. Studies show that mentoring programs improve diversity of organizations, increase employee retention and satisfaction, and improve organizational environment. Below are just a few benefits of mentoring.
Benefits of being a Mentor
- Improved communication skills
- Development of leadership skills
- Reinforcement of skills and knowledge
- Added sense of purpose
- Expanded professional network
Benefits of being a Mentee
- Increased skills and knowledge
- Learning from the experience of others
- Increased personal and professional confidence
- Increased communication skills
- More effective goal setting
Benefits to the organization
- Increased employee retention
- Demonstrated investment in employees
- Reduction in training costs
- Development of high-potential leaders
- Creates a collaborative and inclusive environment
Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
MPN offers various training opportunities for people looking to become Peer Recovery Coaches or Certified Behavioral Heath Peer Support Specialists. We also offer an array of trainings eligible for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for CBHPSS.
Learn how to support people who have expereinced trauma
Develop and implement leadership skills.
Learn about the basics of how boards function, what the expectations are, and how to be a leader and advocate for the recovery movement
This online training will help you understand the process for writing an Advanced Psychiatric Directive (APD) and the laws concerning them in Montana.
Continuing Educaiton, Mentoring, and Self-care
Cultivating and maintaining personal and professional integrity is imperative to the success and sustainability of the peer workforce.
cBHPSS code of ethics, boundaries, and ethical dilemmas facing peer support specialists.
Peer Support Program Essentials explores best practices for recovery programs
This course meets the requirments on of Board of Behavioral Heatlh as suicide interverntion.
Learn how to identify trauma, its effects, promote positive self-care strategies and gain an understanding of how peer support can be used in the healing process.
Peer Support Jobs
Montana’s Peer Network does not necessarily endorse any jobs listed. The information is provided to help our members find positions.
If you would like us to post a job announcement, please email Andi.
PRSC will facilitate or co-facilitate groups, work individually, or in small groups with peers, and use their personal experience to enhance the relationship and mentor clients. Must be in recovery from a severe and disabling mental illness (SDMI) and/or co-occurring disorder and be willing to share experience with members. Certification is preferred, but not required. Winds of Change is willing to provide certification.
Peer support specialists roles include assisting their peers in articulating their goals for recovery, learning and practicing new skills, helping them monitor their progress, supporting them in their treatment, modeling effective coping techniques and self-help strategies based on the specialist’s own recovery experience, supporting them in advocating for themselves to obtain effective services, and developing and implementing recovery plans
The Peer Specialist is an active member of the Emergency Department Crisis Team and provides peer support services to patients in a behavioral health crisis. Under supervision, provides consumer information and peer support for clients in outpatient and inpatient settings. Is or has been a recipient of behavioral health services mental illness and/or substance abuse treatment. Acts as a positive role model through good work ethic, fairness, flexibility and commitment to appropriate and direct communication, demonstrates energy and enthusiasm for Bozeman Health’s mission and vision, and embraces, develops, and implements recovery-based principles with consumers, peers, and the community.
The Peer Support Specialist will through sharing their own experiences guide others through the recovery journey using mentoring, coaching, and partnering with community resources.
determination and decision making. The Peer Specialist is responsible for the delivery of Peer Support services in an outpatient and community-based setting for adults with severe mental illness. The Peer Specialist embraces, develops, and implements recovery-based principles with consumers, staff, EMCMHC, and the community. Acts as a positive role model through good work ethic, fairness, flexibility, and commitment to appropriate and direct communications; demonstrates energy and enthusiasm for EMCMHC’s mission and vision. Salary: $14-$16/hr.
Peer Support Specialists
Peer Support Specialist provides community-based peer support services that are designed to promote the recovery, empowerment, and community integration of individuals who have severe and chronic behavioral health challenges. Will facilitate opportunities for individuals receiving service to direct their own recovery and advocacy process, by teaching and supporting individuals. Promoting the knowledge of available service options and choices of natural resources in the community and help facilitate the development of a sense of wellness and self-worth.
Behavioral Health Peer Support Specialist-Certified
This flexible position functions as a core member of the Meadowlark outreach team that involves the Home Visiting Care Coordinator and the local One Health primary care provider, licensed addiction counselor, nurse care manager and, when available, other mental health providers in the primary care clinic. The Peer Support Specialist (PSS) is responsible for providing and coordinating warm handoffs and mentoring to patients or potential patient families who are expecting or have children up to age two (2), who are impacted by SUD (substance use disorder) and in need of behavioral health services. The PSS also provides experience-based input to guide the implementation of the strategic plan for recruiting participating families to the Sacred Families Program according to the community’s unique needs.
A successful Peer Support Specialist has life experience in persistent mental illness and has participated in mental health services that led to recovery or rehabilitation. This position holds a special role on the team and in the eyes of the clients, providing supportive services to clients with severe to moderate mental illness, or co-occurring disorders. We offer various settings for a Peer Support Specialist to work in to include foster care and group home settings as well as PACT/MACT team settings which is a multi-disciplinary team providing wraparound services.
Uses personal experience with behavior health diagnosis disorder to provide support, mentoring, guidance, and advocacy. Offers hope to individuals struggling with substance abuse/behavioral health disorders. Promotes a team culture in which they recognize, understand, and respect individual preferences and points of view and ensures that they are integrated into the treatment, rehabilitation and community self-help activities. Assists individuals in a variety of ways, including problem solving, mediation, brief respite, community stabilization and relapse prevention. The Peer Specialist provides emotional support to participants to assist their maintenance in the least restrictive setting and to enhance self-sufficiency skills. Provides transportation related to outings and resource connection. Communicates emotional and behavioral observations to the treatment team and completes record keeping functions.
Peer Support Pulse Blog
Over the years MPN has led several pilot projects where we provide peer support to a particular population or in a particular community. We collect data directly from the participants through small surveys after every peer support encounter. The survey is anonymous and is offered to the individuals who are receiving the services. We ask a limited number of questions to not be burdensome but not too few to be incomplete. Data collect drives the pilot project and assists us in creating the model for peer support in crisis teams, family settings, support groups, etc. We have been doing this for more than ten years. In every one of the pilot projects the data says the same thing. Emotional support is the number one benefit. Yes, other boxes get checked but emotional support is consistently the most common. In our recent Family Peer Support Project 77% of the peer support encounters were for emotional support while second was social support at 23%.
The arrival of Native American Heritage Month heralds a deeply personal journey for me, a Blackfoot woman steadfastly navigating the intricate path of recovery. Within the expansive tapestry of indigenous cultures, I discover not only solace and strength but a profound connection to my roots that serves as the cornerstone of my journey of self-discovery. Engaged in tribal liaison work with Montana tribes, this month transcends mere celebration; it stands as a testament to the transformative power of cultural heritage, weaving through my role as a mother and illuminating the unique lens of recovery from an American Indian woman’s perspective.
Peer Support Specialists play a crucial role in the behavioral health field, offering empathetic understanding and lived experience to those in need. While their dedication is commendable, it’s essential to recognize the immense value that career development can bring to their professional journey. Montana’s Peer Network continues to create opportunities for career development because we recognize the significance of investing in the growth and advancement of Peer Support Specialists, and how it not only benefits them personally but also contributes to the overall improvement of behavioral health services.
Mentoring is a practice that has been an integral part of human development for centuries, dating back to the earliest civilizations. It involves an experienced individual providing guidance, support, and knowledge to a less experienced person, helping them navigate their personal and professional journeys. The advantages of mentoring are numerous and far-reaching, benefiting both the mentor and the mentee, as well as organizations and society as a whole. In this essay, we will delve into the many advantages of mentoring, exploring how this valuable practice promotes personal and professional growth, knowledge transfer, and the development of strong, lasting relationships.
Depression was the first diagnosis that I received from a counselor. It was nearly three decades ago but it was the first. I would receive others over the years, but you never forget your first.
I can remember many times walking past a person experiencing homelessness. The thoughts that came to mind brought feelings of shame. Something inside me wanted to give to them, but I was taught they were dangerous, morally defective, and fully capable of making money if they wanted to. As time passed, I stopped looking at “them” but could never shake the feeling that something was amiss with my actions or lack thereof. The poverty around me made me wonder what kind of person I am to pass community members experiencing homelessness. Yet, I was going home, deciding which show to watch, Seinfeld or Friends.
When we are not well, we don’t have the opportunity to get to know ourselves. We are consumed by our own darkness. Once we begin the journey of recovery the light begins to find its way in and we often begin to ask, who am I. What do I like? What do I want to do with my time, my life? We may find we need to let go of friends we hung out with. We may find we have lots of extra time to fill but unsure how to fill it. This is where I encourage the idea of volunteerism.
For most of my life, I didn’t put much time and effort into things unless it was self-fulfilling, of some sort. I always have had a big heart and loved to help feed, support, and be there in any way I could for family and loved ones, but past that, I didn’t do much that was out of my way of comfort, and added to my own status or towards a goal that was for my own selfish needs. As I grew older, I was taught that we do what we can for others, with boundaries. I wanted the acceptance of others and turned into a “Yes” person very early in recovery. I got sober in a program that believed in incentives. It taught me as an adult, that there was appreciation and meaning in going out of my comfort zone to help others.
Service work and volunteering hold a profound place in the hearts of individuals in substance use and mental health recovery. As someone who has embarked on a personal journey of recovery for the past 7.5 years, I have come to appreciate the transformative power of giving back. Though many people in substance use recovery will see service work and volunteering through the lens of 12-step programs, there is purpose and value in volunteering outside of the 12-step communities too, especially for those on a different recovery pathway.
Radical acceptance comes in moments of clarity, where denial transforms into connection. The test of my commitment to radical acceptance shows up when I try to fix, control, ruminate about the past, predict the future, or avoid pain.