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“Certified Peer Specialist Training Opportunity for Veterans or Active Military”

Resource Link

Date: January 22 and 23, 2014
Harrisburg DGS Annex Complex
Application must be postmarked or faxed by December 6

Follow the link at the top for more details about how and where to apply.


“‘Peers’ may ease mental health worker shortage under Obamacare”

Article Link

This September 11, 2013 article on the USA Today website talks about how Peers may help shore up the gap between the number of available mental health workers and the increase in demand for services. Peers a folks who have lived experience with mental illness, some are trained to help mentally ill inmates also.


“The Loss of a Mental Health Activist”

Article Link

This blog post found on the PA Liv Safe Forum blog dated May 23, 2012 talks about the questions that have been raised about the death of Glenn Koons, and at the same time sheds light in to who he was as a mental health advocate who received awards for his work.

Thank you to the blogger who wrote the post about Glenn Koons’ life

“Green Pills, Red Pills, Pink Pills and Even a Baby Blue Pill”

Video Link

This video found posted on YouTube by Recoverytidbits is a nice intro to peer specialists.

“Tiny beauty shop offers clients new look and new outlook”

Article Link

This article found on NewsWorks, dated April 18, 2012, talks about a very small beauty shop that works to help folks with mental illnesses, or intellectual disabilities to improve how they look and even how they feel about how they look.  the shop is owned by someone who is a peer specialist who also has training in hair and hygiene.

“Recovery Edge billboards around Pottsville to come down this week”


Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Schuylkill County

Image via Wikipedia

Article Link

This article dated February 2, 2012 and found on the republicanHerald.com website talks about billboards that had been at locations around Pottsville, PA, and had pointed to recovery as a path that peer specialists can help others along.

“Peers guided toward better mental health”

Article Link

This article appearing in the Centre Daily Times on December 17, 2011, talks about the role of Peer Support Specialists also sometimes called Peer Specialists.  I feel it gives a good overview of what a Peer Specialist does and how their role benefits others they come in contact with.

“Mayview Patients One Year Later”

  I found the following article that includes a link to an audio broadcast offering an update on the status of those still at Mayview and also gives a sort of window into what is happening with those who are living in the community.  It was originally posted on WDUQ’s blog on April 17, 2009, but it answered a few questions I had regarding wondering how folks that were discharged from Mayview were doing and if the community had the supports in place these folks needed before they were discharged.  You can read the writeup below or follow this link to check it out for yourself and listen to the audio broadcast fo the segment. http://wduqnews.blogspot.com/2009/04/mayview-patients-one-year-later.html 

Mayview Patients One Year Later

Mayview State Hospital closed nearly a year ago, and former residents are living in the community. At one time the facility housed more than one thousand patients, but by the time it closed, there were just 250. In 2007 two of those patients died of unnatural causes, but the general consensus is that the vast majority are doing well and getting the services they need. Most of those services are being provided by small nonprofit organizations. Patients, service providers and doctors all seem to have their own take on the way the new system is working. You can hear some of those thoughts by listening to a longer version of the story.

“Former addict finds support on road to recovery”

This article found in the Philladelphia Tribune originally printed on October 14, 2008 can be found in its original format at … http://www.phillytrib.com/tribune/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=501:recovery101408-hlt&catid=9:the-philadelphia-tribune&Itemid=20

The article describes the change that has transpired in the life of a person who has a dual diagnosis since she has begun her road to recovery.  She now works a a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) in the agency where she once sought help herself.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008 02:00
Former addict finds support on road to recovery

  Yoland Smith, a former behavioral health consumer, is now a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) through the Recovery Transformation program and now helps others in the recovery process.  — ABDUL R. SULAYMAN/TRIBUNE CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER

Ayana Jones
Tribune Staff Writer

Yolanda Smith has come a long way.

After 31 years of abusing alcohol and drugs, the 47-year-old Kensington resident never thought that she would overcome her addictions. Two years ago, she decided that it was time to seek help and begin the road to recovery.

“I was no longer afraid to seek help,” says Smith who was also coping with bipolar disorder, a condition that she believes helped fuel her addictions.

She sought out the services of COMHAR Inc., a provider for the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Mental Retardation Services. Smith was able to turn her life around by participating in the agency’s recovery program. She credits the program with helping her to recover from substance abuse, boosting her self-esteem, becoming a better mother to her 22-year-old son and enabling her to receive college training. Today she serves as a certified peer specialist and facilitator at COMHAR where she helps other addicts to recover.

“Recovery is possible,” Smith affirms.

Smith was one of a group of speakers who shared their stories during a press conference held at the Philadelphia Recovery Community Center at 1701 W. Lehigh Avenue. The site is the first of several planned centers that will offers a range of services including counseling, support groups and education.

Behavioral Health Department officials held the event to highlight sweeping changes in the way that it provides services to those who are battling both addictions and mental illness. Under the initiative, the department is moving from just providing treatment to clients to focusing on helping them recover.

“Transformation is about how we are evolving our system to focus on people who have behavioral health problems and substance abuse disorders,” says DBHMRS Director Arthur Evans.

“Inherent in every community is the wisdom to solve its own problems. I think that is what is at the heart of the recovery transformation — that it is a movement that is built on the idea that ‘you can do it, we can help.’”

With that in mind, the recovery transformation initiative focuses on providing care to consumers that promotes long-care recovery, resiliency and self-determination.

Evans referred to the transformation as the most sweeping change in the field since thousands of mentally ill people were release from institutions during the 1970s deinstitutionalization wave.

One of the core aspects of recovery transformation is the certified peer specialist initiative. Through the program, current or former behavioral health consumers are trained and certified to become peer specialists. As of September 49 graduates of the certification training have been employed as peer specialists.

Through a network of community-based provides, DBHMRS provides a full range of mental health and substance abuse treatment for approximately 100,000 consumers annually.

A couple new links

I found a couple new links that I added to the Peer Specialis” page, and have included them in this post as well.  They are both blogs, but very interesting.  Enjoy!

The Peer Empowerment Blog

The Peer Specialist Today (Blog)

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