Mental Health America Organizational Readiness ForUsing Peer Supports Webinar May 9, 2014 Presented by Patrick Hendry Senior Director, Consumer Advocacy
Polling Questions • Does your organization hire behavioral health consumers for peer support? • Do you provide well defined job descriptions with meaningful roles? • Do you have a supervision model for peer support specialists? • Do you provide reasonable accommodations and support for your peer employees?
History • In the 1970’s people coming out of psychiatric institutions and abusive mental health services began to form their own organizations • People with lived experience with mental illness began to provide services and supports to their peers . • The first peer workers inside the mental health system were employed in Drop-In Centers and as Case Management assistants in the 1980’s.
History • In the mid 1980’s the first peer-run organizations began to contract with their state mental health authorities to provide services and supports. • In the 1990’s Peers began to work as “Peer Counselors”, which eventually changed to Peer Specialists. • Peers are now employed throughout the behavioral health system in many states.
Cultural Readiness • When community mental health centers first begin to hire consumers many staff members are resistant to the change. • Many feel that people with mental illnesses are not capable of working in the system of care. • Staff members often cite concerns about relapse, confidentiality, and boundaries.
Cultural Readiness • Consumer leaders and enlightened professionals have worked hard to provide training to behavioral health workers to work side by side with mental health peers in many capacities. • Agencies are learning that consumers can and do bring professionalism to their work. • They are learning that boundaries for peer workers are appropriately different than traditional roles
Cultural Readiness • The behavioral health system is moving towards a recovery oriented culture • Agencies are beginning to understand that given proper support and supervision peer workers are a valuable asset to the behavioral health care system. • Decades of research have proven that peer supports are an evidenced based practice. • Organizational cultural change is a necessary component of the provision of peer support.
Organizational Readiness • Understanding of the recovery process • Clearly defined roles (Job Descriptions) • Supervision appropriate to the peer specialist role • Reasonable accommodation when needed • Adequate peer support for peer workers • Regular evaluation and guidance based on job descriptions
Standards for Peer Supports • Most states and local mental health authorities require that peer specialists receive substantial training that includes: • Understanding of recovery • Dynamics of change • Problem solving • Listening skills • Ethics and boundaries
Standards for Peer Support • In order to be billable to state, local, or Medicaid funding many mental health employers are requiring peer specialists to be certified by a certifying authority. • This generally requires: • Prior work experience, in some states 1000 hours • 40 – 80 hours of approved training • Standardized testing • Adherence to code of ethics • Ongoing education
Models for Peer Support • Peers working within existing community behavioral health centers. • Peers working for peer run organizations • Drop-In Centers, Recovery Centers, Clubhouses • Peer Advocacy Organizations • Statewide Peer Networks • Peer employment organizations that contract out peer specialist services to CBHC’s, hospitals, ER’s, and jails.
Future Expansion of Peer Roles in Organizational Settings • Peers moving into traditional professional roles • Many professionals have lived with behavioral health issues • Now many consumers are returning to school for professional credentials • Peers working in HMO’s and private practices • Peers working in more senior roles in government agencies. • Peers working in non-traditional areas like Human Resources and EAP’s