Measure for Measure: The National Standards for Peer Support Certification from the Peer Perspective

The "National Model Standards for Peer Support Certification” is the first substantive document on peer support published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration since the 2015 landmark publication of “SAMHSA’s Core Competencies for Peer Workers in Behavioral Health Services.” A lot has changed (as evidenced by the depth and breadth of the content areas packed into the 35 pages of the Standards); and all but one state now have state-run or state-endorsed peer certification programs.

For those without an extensive formal training in behavioral health or experience reading federal policy, the Standards, while exciting as movement forward, can be nonetheless confusing, intimidating, and challenging. In this 3-part series we plan to make the Standards more understandable to the people and organizations providing peer support on both the macro level (What is a national standard, and does it impact me and my work?) and the micro level (What are the five Pillars of Peer Support Supervision and what happens if my state only adopts four of them as certification requirements?). Subject knowledge experts will be joining us throughout the series, but the focus will remain on the peer perspective.

The first session, held on July 29 (1-2:30pm ET), will be an overview of the 11 standards and introduction to a matrix that groups can use to determine their compliance with the standards and whether or not the standards apply to their state/organization. Then we will do a deep dive into the two standards that have generated the most discussion among the stakeholders we have been in contact with since the release of the standards in 2023.

At the end of Session 1, participants will be able to:

  • Define what National Model Standards are generally, including whether they are mandated under federal law, can states tie funding to them, is there a timeline for their implementation, etc.
  • Describe the purpose and/or goal of each of the 11 standards.
  • Describe the purpose of the matrix, and when and how it should be used.

Register for Session 1 here.

The second session, held on August 5 (1-2:30pm ET), will review Standard 7: Recovery. Model Standard 7, What is Recovery? This is a deep dive into Standard 7 of “The National Model Standards for Peer Support Certification,” and how organizations and communities with different understandings of what “abstinent recovery” is can thrive while aligning themselves with the national standards. 

At the end of Session 2, participants will be able to:

  • Define what “recovery” means according to Standard 7.
  • Describe how the standards address Medication Assisted Recovery, and the purpose and/or goal of each of the 11 standards.
  • Explain the role of recovery-pathway-specific requirements in state-level certification requirements.

Register for Session 2 here.

For the third session, held on August 12 (1-2:30pm ET) facilitators will discuss Standard 11: Peer Supervision. Model Standard 11, What is Supervision? Discussions around peer supervision can be especially confusing because of the different backgrounds and lived experience of peer support stakeholders. In this deep dive into Standard 11 of “The National Model Standards for Peer Support Certification,” we will share basic definitions of the terminology used in this model standard, and how that language fits into the larger concepts addressed directly and indirectly in this standard, including ensuring that the emerging profession of peer support thrives as part of the continuum of care in behavioral health without eliminating the unique characteristics of peer support, such as the active use of lived experience, that are essential to its success. 

At the end of Session 3, participants will be able to:

  • Define what “supervision” means according to Standard 11.
  • List and describe the five Pillars of Peer Support Supervision.
  • Explain how other model standards (especially including 2, 4, 8, and 9) are incorporated into this standard.

Register for Session 3 here.

We hope you will be able to join us for all three sessions. Questions may be sent in advance to [email protected] with subject line SEMHTTC.

Session Panelists:

  • Wendy White Tiegreen, M.S.W. is the Director of Medicaid and Health System Innovation for the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities.  She has 35 years of experience working in services delivery and administration in the public behavioral health sector.  The majority of her career has been spent as liaison to the state Medicaid authority.  In that role, she was the primary negotiator with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in the establishment of peer supports as a Medicaid-financed service, and is a presenter at several national Medicaid, health, and behavioral health management conferences.  In her various Departmental roles, she has led in Georgia’s development of the first 24/7 statewide call center, the 9-8-8 implementation, Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs), Parent Peer Support, Youth Peer Support, High-Fidelity Wraparound, Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health, and System of Care frameworks for the State of Georgia.  She has also been a contractor for CMS, SAMHSA, NASMHPD, and more than half of all states related to behavioral health, Medicaid, and peer support. 
  • Amy Brinkley CAPRCII, CPSP, Senior Recovery Support Systems Coordinator, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) is a nationally recognized advocate for mental health and substance use recovery, drawing from 15 years of direct lived experience. Motivated by personal struggles, including the loss of three brothers to suicide and her mother's overdose, Amy is dedicated to catalyzing change through peer support, recovery-focused care systems, and robust data collection policies. Her mission centers on enhancing the quality of life and sustained recovery for individuals with substance use disorders and mental illness, championing person-centered, recovery-oriented outcomes. In her professional journey, Amy spent five years with the Indiana State Division of Mental Health and Addiction, where she played a pivotal role in expanding peer support services statewide. She contributed to multiple publications for the American Psychiatric Association Journals and served on the APA Policy Advisory Board, leveraging her expertise in peer support. Currently serving as the first ever Senior Recovery Support Services Coordinator for the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) since January 2022, Amy provides crucial leadership in bolstering recovery support services nationwide. Her extensive experience in developing recovery data collection practices, particularly in Indiana, informs her work in supporting states and territories. Amy's dedication extends beyond her professional role. She serves on the boards of NAMI National, the SURF Center, and Recovery Café Lafayette, and leads locally in Lafayette Indiana as CEO and Founder for Paul's Plan Ministries. Amy is fully committed to fostering mental health and substance use recovery at the local, state, and national levels.

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