Peer Support 101

Peer Support 101

Montana’s Peer Network has developed a comprehensive 40 hour Behavioral Health Peer Support Certification training program. We were the first provider approved by the Board of Behavioral Health to meet the training requirements for obtaining certification as a Behavioral Health Peer Support Specialist. This empowering and highly interactive training includes topics such as: whole health recovery, one-on-one work, support group facilitation, ethics and standards, confidentiality, change model, recovery concepts and much, much more. This unique training experience provides hands on learning, role play examples, and group discussion that isn’t available in online or computer based trainings and a personal connection to other peer supporters around the state.

What people say about PS101

“…the most incredible time of my life. It was life-changing.”


“…very happy with the training…”

“…thought it was wonderful.”

“Jim was very inactive with the group. It was fun and interesting. Wouldn’t change a thing.”

“Everything was well thought out and presented well.”

“Interactive learning.”

“Excellent course.”

“All great, Jim rocks, it was all great!”

“Jim is an excellent trainer.”

“…great training all around!”

“thank you so much!”

“…you kept us engaged and interested”

“I really learned some more tools for my job and do appreciate you introducing us all, was a pleasure and an honor to be in that training.”

This training is designed to allow the participant to develop core competencies of peer support, gain better understanding of their own recovery story, build upon strengths, network with other peer supporters and understand the important role peer support can play in the recovery process. Upon successful completion of this training participants will receive a certificate of completion from Montana’s Peer Network. This course meets the National Practice Standards for Peer Supporters and the guideline set up by the Montana Peer Support Task Force and the guidelines for Behavioral Health Peer Support Specialist Certification.

PS101 Followup Webinars

We are now offering follow-up webinars to those who have completed PS 101. This is to help support peer supporters in pursuing certification and careers in Montana.  We will hold periodic webinars to focus on challenges or barriers with that pursuit and to assist CBHPSS candidates in completing applications and the certification process.  We often get agencies reaching out to us for job offers and want to be able to help get these very important jobs filled with people who have a passion to support others. Webinars are scheduled 2-3 weeks following each PS 101 course. Contact Amanda for more information.

Find out more about state certification for peer supporters.

Upcoming Training

Topics Covered

Chapter 1-Recovery

Introduction, Orientation and Expectations
Foundation, History and Types of Peer Support
Peer Supporter Toolbox
Recovery Concepts, Dimensions and Guiding Principles

Chapter 2-Professionalism

Montana Peer Support Task Force
Role and Scope
Boundaries and Ethics
Recovery Team
Recovery Talks
Clinical Supervision
Benefits Planning, FMLA and Accommodations
Continuing Education

Chapter 3-Peer Supporter Skills

Communication Skills
Emotional Intelligence
Trauma Informed Care
Cultural Understanding and CLAS Standards
Personal Bias
Providing Support
Goal Setting
Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies
Stages of Change
Situational Awareness
Suicide Intervention
Recovery and Crisis Planning
Advance Psychiatric Directive
Recovery Stories
Confidentiality, Reporting, HIPAA and Documentation

Chapter 4-Resources

Montana State System
Resources state and national
10 Homework assignments
Training Evaluation

Course Information

Application Process

Applications typically open 1 month prior to training date.

Before accessing the PS 101 application, you must complete the Mapping Your Journey questionnaire. You can review the requirements on our Trailheads page.

A letter of recommendation is required to complete your application. The letter should be from your current or potential employer, clinical supervisor, peer support specialist or other behavioral health professional. Letters must be emailed to Amanda before your application will be considered.

You will receive notification of acceptance along with instructions regarding the training. Please allow a minimum of one week for us to process your application.

Homework will be distributed two weeks prior to the training.


Expectations and Requirements

To attend this course you must follow your PS 101 Journey as indicated through our Trailheads. All journeys require the following:

  • Be in stable recovery for at least two years
  • Apply 2 weeks before scheduled training
  • Attend all 5 days of training
  • Participate fully in class exercises
  • Complete all homework assignments
  • Take the written exam

Peer Supporters currently working in the field will have priority but you must sign up early to ensure your spot. Seats are extremely limited.

You must have an overall score of 80% to pass the course. This includes homework, class participation, and the final exam.

You will receive a certificate of course completion to submit with your Certified Behavioral Health Peer Support Specialist application


Course Costs

Peer Support 101 training fees $950.

There is currently no fee for Montana Residents to attend Peer Support 101 training via Trail 1, Trail 3, or Trail 4. Trail 2 requires payment. To determine your trail, please visit our Trailheads page.

Any travel and lodging expenses are the responsibility of the individual.


Retaking the Course

If you don’t pass the Peer Support 101 training you cannot just retake the exam, you must retake the entire course.

We offer a limited number of trainings each year and we cannot guarantee that you will be able to retake the class on the next training date.

Certificate Reprints

If you need a copy of your certificate, please email your name, address, and the date you took the training to Amanda. there is a $10 fee for certificate reprints which can be paid in our online store. Please be advised that it may take up to two weeks for you to receive your replacement certificate.