Recovery and Peer Support
Recovery from mental illness is not only possible but expected. The President's New Freedom Commission Report (2003) envisioned "a future when everyone with a mental illness will recover, a future when mental illnesses can be prevented or cured, a future when mental illnesses are detected early, and a future when everyone with a mental illness at any stage of life has access to effective treatment and supportsessentials for living, working, learning, and participating fully in the community."
In August 2010, a group of leaders in the behavioral health field, including people in recovery from mental illness and substance use disorders, met with the national agency called the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The team worked together to develop a working definition of recovery that would apply to both mental health and substance use populations. The team developed the following definition for recovery:
A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.
The team identified four dimensions that support recovery:
The team also identified ten Principles of Recovery:
- Recovery emerges from hope.
- Recovery is person-driven.
- Recovery occurs via many pathways.
- Recovery is holistic.
- Recovery is supported by peers and allies.
- Recovery is supported through relationship and social networks.
- Recovery is culturally-based and influenced.
- Recovery is supported by addressing trauma.
- Recovery involves individual, famiy, and community strengths, and responsibility.
- Recovery is based on respect.
Click "SAMHSA Recovery" in the Related Links box to find more about the four dimensions and the ten Principles of Recovery.
The President's New Freedom Commission Report (2003) also outlines a plan to transform mental health care in America to promote a recovery-oriented service system. Peer support is an important element in this transformation process.
The Peer Specialist Service is a structured and scheduled therapeutic activity with an individual client or group, provided by a trained, self-identified consumer of mental health services. A Peer Specialist guides clients toward the identification and achievement of specific goals defined by the client and specified in the Treatment Plan.
How to Become a Peer Support Specialist
To become qualified, a Kentucky Peer Specialist (KPS) completes 30 hours of training and passes both a written and oral test. The job of a KPS is not to replace current clinical mental health staff but to offer additional and/or alternative options to help people in their efforts to recover.
Regular supervision is required and each qualified Kentucky Peer Specialist must earn at least 6 hours of continuing education each year. To locate a training event in Kentucky, access the following links by the type of Peer Specialist.
How to Become a Trainer for Peer Support Curricula
The Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) supports consumer-driven recovery-oriented services. (DBH) approves training curricula for providers that request to become trainers for the Peer Specialist types listed above. For more information on how to become a trainer, access the "Curriculum Approval Process for PSS" link in Related Links.
For More Information
The Kentucky regulation for adult peer support is 908 KAR 2:220 (see Related Links). For additional information about this service and the required training and supervision requirements, access "Curriculum Approval Process for PSS" in Related Links.
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