Certified Peer Support WorkersCertification
The Certification of Peer Support Workers by the State of New Mexico has two primary purposes: The certification will allow peers to work within an eligible certified agency as a Community Support Worker (CSW), and be able to provide services within the agency’s Comprehensive Community Support Services (CCSS) or Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) program. The certified agency can then be paid by the state for the services provided by the Certified Peer Support Worker working as a Community Support Worker.
Federal Medicaid rules require that the state approve the certification process. The certification allows individuals to work within a certified agency to provide peer services according to very specific rules and regulations in order to enhance the recovery and resiliency of others with Severe Emotional Disorders, Severe Mental Illness and/or chronic substance abuse. Persons who have been able to “live recovery and resiliency” can help others within the frame work of agency’s CCSS or ACT programs develop the skills and attitudes they need to enhance their resiliency and recovery. The addition of the Peer Support Workers Certification process is a powerful tool that includes the peer experience as part of the public behavioral health system.
At this time, the state certification process is only for this activity. However, Individuals may provide peer services in a variety of other venues that do not require certification. These other venues can include drop-in centers, consumer driven activities, self-help groups and other consumer activities. Any person may elect to call themselves a peer support Worker. Only a person who has completed the state training and certification process can call themselves a Certified Peer Support Worker and then be credentialed as a Community Support Worker within a certified agency to provide reimbursable services within a CCSS or ACT program.
Peers are persons who have self identified themselves as consumers of mental health and/or substance abuse services. The certification process requires that peers have two year demonstrated recovery and provide written proof of their recovery.
Office of Peer Recovery & Engagement
Behavioral Health Services Division, NM Human Services Department
Telephone: (505) 476-6290
Fax: (505) 476-9272
P.O. Box 2348
Roles and ActivitiesRoles and Activities of Certified Peer Support Workers
Agency: The Certified Peer Support Workers work within the framework of a certified agency under the supervision of an independently licensed behavioral health professional within the agency’s CCSS or ACT programs as specified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (August 15, 2007). The credentialing allows a person to work in an agency as a Community Support Worker. In the role of Community Support Worker, the Certified Peer Support Workers are agency employees. As any employee their roles are often impacted by the rules and procedures of the agency.
Services: The agency will expect Community Support Worker to provide peer support services according to the approved client’s individualized Plan of Care and according to the CCSS Service definitions. The service definitions provide very specific guidelines on service activities which are individualized for the person being served. The following service lists are CCSS and ACT Peer activities as described in the CCSS service definitions that peers may provide as a member of the agency team:
Community Support ServicesComprehensive Community Support Services
ACTAssertive Community Treatment (ACT)
ACT is a team based service that assists persons with severe mental illness develop the skills, knowledge, natural supports and resources to develop a rewarding life in the community. The Certified Peer Support Worker works as a member of the ACT team and assists with activities similar to those listed under Comprehensive Community Support Services (above).
Certified Peer Support Workers perform an important part of the services for individuals requiring behavioral health services. They are uniquely qualified to assist others in making personal transformations.
1. Prerequisite requirements to be a Certified Peer support Specialist include:
2. Application process:
3. Training: Successfully complete the Peer Support Worker training offered through the Office of Consumer Affairs by State Approved Trainers. A schedule for the training events can be found at: www.bhc.state.nm.us