Peer Support Pulse

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.

Click here to access forms related to CBHPSS Certification and Licensing.

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.
  • 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.

Peer Mentoring

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.

How to be an Effective Advocate

Learn about the basics of how boards function, what the expectations are, and how to be a leader and advocate for the recovery movement

Advance Psychiatric Directives

This online training will help you understand the process for writing an Advanced Psychiatric Directive (APD) and the laws concerning them in Montana.

Cultivating Workforce Integrity

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.

Become Trauma Aware

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.

Park County Drop In Center, Livingston, MT


The brand new Park County Drop In Center (PCDIC) which has plans to open June 1st, 2024, is seeking a part time manager to run the day to day operations at the PCDIC Mondays-Thursdays from 8:30 am -1:30 pm. This would include communicating with the community and PCDIC staff, actively informing volunteers of the mission of the PCDIC, and making sure that volunteers and staff members are directed and trained. This position will work closely with the PCDIC Board of Director to make sure that all clients are having their needs met, data is being tracked, and that operations of the PCDIC are connecting people to programs throughout Park County.

Peer Support Specialist

The Peer Support Specialist will provide 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.

Peer Support Specialist

Peer Support Specialist 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.

Behavioral Peer Support Specialist

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

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.

Havre - Great Falls - Great Falls PACT - Kalispell - Helena PACT

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.

Peer Support Pulse Blog

Posted on by Nikki Russell

The Prism of the Mind

Until I know the nature of my mind, I cannot understand what mental health is. What is the fundamental nature of the mind? Defining the nature of the mind is a debatable subject for scientists, and it offers many convincing theories. The same is valid for mental health conditions; there are subtle differences between different scientific studies, yet the most widely accepted is in the Medical/Biological and Psychological perspectives, which posit mental illness as a disease or a disorder of the brain, hence the need for a diagnosis. Typical treatments include medications, interventions, lifestyle changes, therapies, and psychoanalysis. I am grateful for the advancement of science because mental health often requires medical treatment, but have we thrown the baby out with the bath water?

Posted on by Nikki Russell

Self-Care Inspires Life

I was a new manager in a clothing retail store in the corporate world. In the beginning, I worked 50-60 hours a week. I managed 12-15 employees at any given time with scheduling, crunching numbers, training, and orientations. I sat in my office, dreaming of a way to excuse myself and walk away from the rat race. The job represented how I lived until then, sacrificing my vitality for security. I would leave work daily, pick up my daughter, and stop for my self-care, a bottle or two of wine. I would go home and pour myself a mind-numbing glass of Cabernet, help my daughter with her homework, and put her to bed. I would pass out around midnight, wake up the following day, and start the cycle again.

Posted on by Nikki Russell

The Internal Pursuit of Happiness

Happiness is a broad term that many people associate with pleasure. When your craving for excitement is replenished, the boredom is filled with fun, or the hunger is satisfied. We want entertainment with relationships, activities, careers, and food. The adrenaline rush or dopamine hit that tells us, ” I am doing something that matters to me.” This is what many people call happiness, the rush of life, the drama of the story. Who would read a book or watch a movie about a character who spends all day doing mundane” things? Intellectually, this definition of happiness makes sense.

Posted on by Nikki Russell

Lessons in Writing

My story is under eternal construction; another layer reveals itself as soon as I assemble it. Writing my recovery story is compelling and something I would like to present in a way that an audience would understand transformation. I immediately reverted to childhood, to one of my saddest moments, and began from there. I revisit emotional wounds that blend into this NOW moment and start composing. I realize the pattern of my life as I attempt not to retraumatize and dull the harsh edges of my traumatic childhood. I retell the same sad story I have uttered thousands of times, one that imprisoned me in unworthiness.

Posted on by Beth Ayers

Our Recovery or Resiliency Story

Recovery or resiliency stories are powerful and important. They do a few things: 1. Connect us to the peers we are working with, 2. Give value to the unique perspective our lived experience brings to the table, 3. Show the importance and effectiveness of peer support. According to Montana’s Peer Network’s Peer Support Training, our recovery or resiliency story is “at the heart of the work we do in peer support. It is important that, as peer supporters, we understand our own process of recovery or resiliency. We need to be comfortable enough to speak about our own journey with others. Being able to describe our experience in a concise and hopeful manner is important. We want to tell our recovery [and resiliency] journey in a way that will inspire or provide a sense of hope to those still struggling.” A recovery or resiliency story “lets those you work with know you really do understand how difficult it can be. And how to overcome challenges. This is your greatest strength as a peer supporter.” Whether we are Behavioral Health Peer Supporters or Family Peer Supporters, it is important to share our story with a peer as it relates to them. They are the focus. Sharing our story is a useful tool to build connection and engage with your peer.

Posted on by Lea Wetzel

Nurturing Teen Mental Health

As a parent navigating the challenges of raising a teenager in today’s fast-paced world, I have come to appreciate the significance of prioritizing mental health. With World Teen Mental Wellness Day just around the corner on March 2, it is an opportune time to reflect on ways we can actively support our teens’ emotional well-being throughout the year. In a world where one in seven adolescents faces mental health challenges, fostering awareness and reducing stigma becomes paramount, especially given the impact of the global pandemic on our teens’ mental health.

Posted on by Lea Wetzel

True Leadership

Growing up in a family of overachievers and natural-born leaders, allowed me to see what positive leadership can look like. Watching my grandpa Blackie Wetzel be such a humble person, set the tone for my dad and his siblings, to also be some amazing individuals too.

It wasn’t until I owned my own business at the young age of 19, that I realized that I too had some natural skills that gave me an edge over the competition.

Posted on by Nikki Russell

Kindness is Love in Action

by Nikki Russell, CBHPSSFebruary 20, 2024The ripple effect of kindness offers global and self-transformation. Acts of kindness can be as simple as a smile or as profound as a prayer. Sometimes, we know when the effect of our actions is received as kindness; other times, it encapsulates empathy and sends an energetic message that uplifts…

Posted on by Lea Wetzel

National Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Understanding the complexity of abuse, coercion, and control can be a complex multidimensional description. When asked,” What to look for?” within human trafficking is a hard question to answer, because human trafficking isn’t one situation to describe, it can have many faces. Human Trafficking effects all social groupings, genders, and does not discriminate when it comes to its victims. There are statistics that prove the American Indian population is in fact at a higher risk of being affected by human trafficking, murder, and becoming a missing persons case. 48.8% of Native American women have been stalked in their lifetime, and 40% of sex trafficking survivors are in fact, Native American women.

Posted on by OpenAI

The Transformative Role of Technology in Peer Support for Behavioral Health

In recent years, the landscape of behavioral health support has undergone a significant transformation with the integration of technology into peer support programs. As society grapples with the challenges of mental health and well-being, technology has emerged as a powerful ally in fostering connection, empathy, and understanding among individuals facing behavioral health issues. This essay explores the multifaceted use of technology in peer support for behavioral health, examining its impact on accessibility, anonymity, community-building, and the overall effectiveness of mental health interventions.