Increasingly the delivery of quality mental health care includes the services of a peer support specialist—an individual experiencing wellness living with a mental health or substance use disorder. These individuals have acquired the skills to use their lived experience to assist others on their own unique path to recovery often working as an adjunct to the clinical care team.

During the DBSA 5-week Peer Support Specialist course, students will be provided the opportunity to reflect on their own journey and learn how to develop skills that draw upon that experience to assist others in their recovery.

The course incorporates independent and distance learning and a 5-day onsite learning environment at the DBSA headquarters in Chicago. Course work includes assigned outside reading, completion of homework assignments, 6-10 distance learning discussions, quizzes, role-play evaluations and a final test. Students must be available to attend all group discussions, the 5-day in-person activities, and achieve a passing grade on all quizzes and the final test o receive a certificate of completion.

Facilitated by certified DBSA trainers, this comprehensive and highly interactive course delivers a solid foundation in recovery principles, peer support intervention skills, and ethical practices. Training incorporates small group coaching sessions and can be used to meet many state certification requirements.

Individuals or groups can participate in DBSA Peer Specialist Training. DBSA offers an annual training for individuals in Chicago. This training meets the training qualification for completing steps towards VA certification.

DBSA provides on-site training to groups and organizations. Examples of organizations that could take advantage of this service include local VA facilities, Community Behavioral Health Centers, local County Mental Health Boards, private inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. Complete and submit the appropriate individual training application or group training request form.

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