Peer Support Services

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Peer support services are delivered by individuals who have been successful in recovery from mental and/or substance use disorders who help others experiencing similar situations. Through shared understanding, respect, and mutual empowerment, peer support services help people become and stay engaged in the recovery process and reduce the likelihood of relapse. Peer support services can effectively extend the reach of treatment beyond the clinical setting into the everyday environment of those seeking a successful, sustained recovery process.

Mental Health Peer Support Services Public Service Announcement - Missouri Mental Health Foundation

What is Peer Support?
How to find Peer Support
How to become a Peer Specialist

Peer support encompasses a range of activities and interactions between people who share similar experiences of being diagnosed with mental health conditions, substance use disorders, or both. This mutuality—often called “peerness”—between a peer support worker and person in or seeking recovery promotes connection and inspires hope. Peer support offers a level of acceptance, understanding, and validation not found in many other professional relationships (Mead & McNeil, 2006). By sharing their own lived experience and practical guidance, peer support workers help people to develop their own goals, create strategies for self-empowerment, and take concrete steps towards building fulfilling, self-determined lives for themselves.

To become a Certified Peer Specialist qualified to work in the Missouri Department of Mental Health system, here are the steps.

  1. Applicant would go to or and submit a training application. (Please note that only 30 applicants will be chosen for each training. You will be notified 2 weeks prior to the training if you have been selected).
  2. The peer would attend the week-long 35 hour training.
  3. Once the week-long training is complete the peer would take an online exam that is monitored by a proctor.
  4. Once the peer attends the training and passes the exam, they would then visit and download the Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) Application. They would fill out the application and submit all the necessary paperwork to the Missouri Credentialing Board along with a $75.00 application fee.
  5. The Missouri Credentialing Board reviews the application and once approved the peer becomes a Certified Peer Specialist and is issued a certificate and credential number.
  6. The Certified Peer Specialist Certification renews every 2 years and the peer must submit 20 hours of continuing education and within those 20 hours, six of the hours must be “live” ethics. The renewal fee is $70.00

Applicants can contact the Missouri Credentialing Board office with questions—the mainline number is 573-616-2300.

Other helpful links
  • UIC Solutions Suite for Health & Recovery - The UIC Solutions Suite for Health & Recovery offers tools, curricula, and implementation manuals for free and immediate use in mental health centers, peer-run programs, or one's own life. You can introduce the entire complement of products to foster improved health and recovery. Or, you can choose the ones that will work best for your program or your life. 
  • Missouri Recovery Community Centers 2018 Summary
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Recovery - Learn how recovery-oriented care and recovery support systems help people with mental and/or substance use disorders manage their conditions successfully.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) BRSS TACS - BRSS TACS helps programs, systems, states, territories, and tribes as they implement effective recovery supports and services for individuals of all ages and diverse populations with mental or substance use disorders.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness - Provide education, support and advocacy on behalf of people with serious mental illness and their families regardless of race, religion or national origin.
  • Mental Health America - Mental Health America (MHA) – is the nation's leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all Americans.
  • Bridges - Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri - A peer-run self-help program of mental health recovery classes and support groups for mental health consumers.
  • Mental Health America of the Heartland - Mental Health America of the Heartland is dedicated to promoting the mental health of the community, and improving the quality of life of persons with mental illness, through advocacy, education, and support.
  • Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) - DBSA provides hope, help, support, and education to improve the lives of people who have mood disorders.
  • Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) - The Wellness Recovery Action Plan or WRAP, is a self-designed prevention and wellness tool that you can use to get well, and stay well. WRAP is for anyone, any time, and for any of life's challenges.
  • International Association of Peer Supporters - As an organization with international connections, we advocate for the worldwide wisdom that peer support providers have gained from their own experiences to be an important component in mental health treatment and in system transformation.