Increasingly, the delivery of quality mental health care includes the services of a Peer Support Specialist — an individual who has experienced mental health or substance use issues and is now living in wellness. These professionals have acquired the specialized skills they need to transform their own experiences into practical, supportive services that help others forge their own path to recovery. Many Peer Support Specialists serve as adjuncts to the clinical care team, working with peers and medical caregivers to plan treatment, set goals, and provide encouragement along the way.

DBSA offers a 5-week Peer Support Specialist Course that gives students the opportunity to reflect on their own mental health journey and develop specific skills that will help them work effectively with peers. Our course blends independent study with real-time distance learning, and also includes a 5-day Building the Skills workshop where students will engage in live role play and discussion. Course work includes assigned outside reading, completion of homework assignments, live group discussions, quizzes, evaluations, and a final test. Students must be available to attend all real-time group activities, including all 5 Building the Skills sessions, and achieve a passing grade on all quizzes and the final test to receive a certificate of completion.

Facilitated by certified DBSA instructors, 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’s Peer Specialist Course. Our course is VA-approved and meets the criteria for completing steps towards VA certification.

DBSA often provides the Peer Support Specialist Course for groups and organizations such as local VA facilities, community behavioral health centers, local county mental health boards, and private inpatient or outpatient treatment programs. Complete and submit the appropriate individual training application or group training request form.

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