Peer Recovery Support Specialists

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A peer support specialist is a person with "lived experience" who has been trained to support those who struggle with mental health, psychological trauma, or substance use. Their personal experience of these challenges provide peer support specialists with expertise that professional training cannot replicate.

Hello and Welcome to the World of Peer Recovery Support Specialist! We are aware that most of us have “unofficially” been providing Peer services in our everyday life for years! However, becoming a certified Peer will give you the opportunity to tailor your approach and define what areas you not only enjoy, but are best at based on your unique experience.

 

At Life Changes, it is not our intent to make you FIT the job, out intent is to discover what sets your soul on fire and create the job that best suites YOUR unique talents. Our philosophy is if your job empowers you professionally as well as personally, out client's benefit!  So, should you choose to become a Peer Recovery Support Specialist, think about areas that are of most interest to you. Do you want to work more intensely with those in recovery, with a mental health disorder or those that suffer from both of these challenges?  What about an individual that is facing medical challenges or struggling to become work ready? These simple target areas already overlap with the services we provide our residents...think about what interests you most and lets work to help you explore these areas as you move forward in your professional life.

Here at Life Changes we are in the beginning stages of developing a Peer Recovery Support component.  As with any new project, we will begin with baby steps and within the next twelve months we hope to have a state Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist assigned to every residential facility we operate.  Our long-term goal is for every house manager to be a Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist.

Life Changes will cover the cost of your training and certification. You must be willing to put in the footwork.  Below are the criteria to begin this journey.

  • High School Diploma or high school equivalent

    • If you do not have this, please contact Sandy for assistance to achieve this criteria.​

  • 500 Hours of volunteer or paid work experience specific to the following domains:​

    • Advocacy​

    • Mentoring/Education

    • Recovery/Wellness Support

    • Ethical Responsibility

    • NOTE:  You've been doing this! Now we just document it!

  • Willing to sign a Code of Ethics agreement​

    • This just means you will put in writing that you're going to act right!​

  • 46 hours of in-class training​

    • NOTE: We will schedule trainings on the weekend so no one has to miss work!​

Should you choose to be a part of the Peer project, you will not only receive training, you will work as a team under the supervision of the Peer Project Manager to ensure this project is a success.  Initially five Life Changes staff will be chosen to move forward, so if you choose to take a slot, be sure you have the available time to devote to this training. 

 

If you are interested, please click here!  

What activities does a Peer do?

Most of you are ALREADY doing most of the items in the list below!  We are simply formalizing the process.  It is our hope that in time, as this project is developed and implemented, this will provide a means for house managers and support staff to receive a paycheck for their valuable services!

  • Self Help: Cultivating the ability to make informed, independent choices. Helping develop a network of contacts for information and support based on experience of the Peer Recovery Support Specialist. Assist in developing social skills, repairing, rebuilding, or establishing prevention networks. 

  • System Advocacy: Assisting the individual to talk about what it means to have a substance use and/or co-occurring disorder to an audience or group. Assisting with communicating about an issue related to their substance use and/or their recovery. 

  • Individual Advocacy: Discussing concerns about medication at the individual’s request. Assisting with developing independence in self-referral techniques, accessing appropriate care, and understanding clear communication and coordination with any health care provider 

  • Recovery Planning: Helping the member make appointments for any medical or mental health treatment when requested. Guiding the member toward a proactive role in health care, jointly assessing services, identifying triggers for use, developing a relapse plan, and building support network. 

  • Crisis Support: Assisting the individual with the development of a personal crisis plan. Helping with stress management and developing positive strategies for dealing with potential stressors and crisis situations. 

  • Relapse Prevention: Giving feedback to the member on early signs of relapse and how to request help to prevent a potential crisis. Assisting the member in learning how to use the crisis/relapse plan. Educating on relapse prevention and identifying relapse trigger, developing a relapse plan and prevention. Learn new ways to live life without the inclusion of drugs, skills building for such things as time management and connecting with prosocial activities

  • Housing: Assisting the member with learning how to maintain stable housing through bill paying and organizing his or her belongings. Assisting the member in locating improved housing situations. Teaching the member to identify and prepare healthy foods according to cultural and personal preferences of the member and his/her medical needs.

  • Education/Employment: Assisting the member in gaining information about going back to school or job training. Facilitating the process of asking an employer for reasonable accommodation for psychiatric/SUD disability (mental health day, flex time, etc.).