Founded on peer support and still committed

DBSA has revamped our official position statements which are available on our website. We will be highlighting one of our position statements monthly in one of our articles. This month, we go back to where it all began, peer support.

DBSA was founded on peer support and values peer specialists throughout the delivery of healthcare to treat mental health conditions. Peer specialists can and should be employed in both the traditional mental health delivery system and in integrated or collaborative care settings that treats both physical and mental health. Peer specialists are individuals who use their own personal, lived experience of recovering from mental illness to support others in recovery.

DBSA advocates for regulatory and legislative policies that improve the adoption and codify the use of peer support services as best in class practices for government-delivered health care programs, the Department of Veterans Affairs and through commercial insurance plans. We also seek opportunities to promote the value of peer support services in media intended to reach clinicians and organizational leaders who can authorize the use of peer support specialists and identify and train peer specialists to be spokespersons for the profession and the value of the service they deliver.

To learn more about DBSA’s Peer Support Position Statement, click here.

Please forward to colleagues, family, and friends to assist us in this grassroots effort to make our voice heard.

To continue to receive communications about issues that support access to quality mental health care, click here.

Expanding our peer specialist training for Veterans

One of the ways that DBSA leads in valuing peer support specialists is by creating one of the first peer specialist education programs. Our course is certified by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Illinois Certification Board as meeting training requirements toward individual certification. Our first course was created in 2004 and has been given to over 1,000 individuals to date. In 2015, DBSA created a Veteran peer specialist course for the VA, and approximately 800 Veterans have successfully completed this course.

DBSA dedicates resources to continually evaluate and enhance the peer specialist education program to elevate the profession and broaden acceptance and adoption of peer support specialists. This year, we updated the 37-hour program to a 5-Week Peer Specialist Course. The inaugural 5-week course was offered in September and is recognized by the VA to meet the educational requirement toward Veteran Peer Specialist certification. This new educational offering provides students with both practical knowledge and the opportunity to develop skills that are needed immediately on the job.

The VA has enrolled ten Veteran peer apprentices employed at VA facilities around the country to complete this new course by the end of the year. DBSA anticipates the VA will be enrolling additional peer apprentices in 2020 as the department implements the Peer Act—a Congressional mandate to employ up to 30 peer specialists in patient-aligned care teams at VA medical centers.

To learn more about DBSA’s Peer Specialist Training, click here.

Please forward to colleagues, family, and friends to assist us in this grassroots effort to make our voice heard.

To continue to receive communications about issues that support access to quality mental health care, click here.

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