Background, Training, and Job Openings

Certified Peer Support Services

“Peer support is a natural human response to the alienation and adversity associated with being given a psychiatric diagnosis. Wherein the diagnosis marks us as ‘different’ and separates us from the community, peer support creates common ground and the opportunity for inclusion.”

Patricia Deegan, PhD

Peer support is “a system of giving and receiving help founded on key principles of respect, shared responsibility, and mutual agreement of what is helpful.”

Mead, Hilton, and Curtis, 2001

Mental health peer support has existed for decades, both formally and informally, in clubhouses, drop-in centers, and consumer-run organizations. Since the 1990s, increased attention has been paid to the importance and potential of expanding mental health staffing patterns to include “consumers as providers” within mental health service settings.

In 2001, Georgia and Arizona were among the first states to be approved for Medicaid coverage of Certified Peer Specialists. Several states quickly followed, and in 2007 the Minnesota Legislature passed Minnesota Statute 256B.0615 directing the Commissioner of the Department of Human Services to establish the Medicaid-covered Certified Peer Specialist role. Minnesota joins 26 states that have a covered peer support service. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) now recognizes peer support providers as a distinct provider type for the delivery of support services and considers it an evidence-based mental health model of care.

The role of Certified Peer Specialists, as mental health professionals, is continuing to develop as states create certification programs and incorporate formally trained Certified Peer Specialists into traditional service settings. The Certified Peer Specialist does not replace other mental health professionals, but rather it is a complement to an array of mental health support services.

Certified Peer Specialist Training

In the past, the State of Minnesota contracted with CSN to coordinate Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) Training. Now, the State is coordinating training. In particular, Shelley White is in charge of the State’s CPS Program. If you’re interested in attending an upcoming session, you’ll need to complete an application and a ‘letter of recommendation’ form. Both are attached, below. They include instructions on returning them to the State.

Please note: There are no new CPS training dates at this time.

If you have any questions regarding CPS and/or CPS Training, please contact Shelley:

Shelley White
Mental Health Program Consultant
DHS-Adult Mental Health
email: shelley.white@state.mn.us
phone: 651-431-2518

Certified Peer Specialist Job Openings

See our CPS Job Openings Page for the latest job openings.