Peer Support Services bring hope and a sense of healing to people who have experienced adversity due to mental health challenges. PeerTAC’s vision is to ensure all people, regardless of age, race, socioeconomic status, stigma, or other factors that can limit the success of mental health services, have the option to receive Peer Support Services.
PeerTAC was established as a statewide center for training, technical assistance and consultation to mental health organizations serving children, adolescents, families, and adults/older adults through existing or newly developed Peer Support Services.
As the demand for Peer Support Services grows, an increasing number of mental health organizations are looking to hire certified or credentialed peer support providers. PeerTAC supports the inclusion of the full range of Peer Support Services that hire Certified Peer Specialists (NYCPS), Credentialed Family Peer Advocates (FPA-C), and Credentialed Youth Peer Advocates (YPA-C) to work in programs that provide mental health services across New York State.
In the initial stages of implementation, few mental health organizations will have experience with Peer Specialists/Advocates, particularly in leadership roles. Organizational leadership will need to establish an organizational culture based on recovery-oriented practices and respect for the lived experience perspective that can support the successful inclusion of Peer Specialists/Advocates. Failure to evaluate organizational readiness and invest in the culture change necessary to create a welcoming environment for interdisciplinary teamwork typically leads to a lack of clarity and vision regarding the role Peer Specialists/Advocates can play and how to best utilize their skills and expertise, which, in turn, leads to turnover. Additionally, supervisors will need to be equipped with the knowledge of peer values, best practice skills and training to supervise Peer Specialists/Advocates effectively within the parameters of the Peer Support Practice discipline.
In recognition of these challenges, PeerTAC will provide training, technical assistance, and ongoing support to mental health organizations with the goal of ensuring successful inclusion of Peer Specialist/Advocates and delivery of effective Peer Support Services.
There are four goals for this statewide initiative:
- Enhance the organizational readiness for adoption and implementation of the full array of Peer Support Services across the mental health system that provides services for children/adolescents, families, and adults/older adults.
- Increase the capacity for organizations to provide Peer Support Services in accordance with established best practices through a clearly defined scope of practice, peer support job descriptions, and recruitment strategies, and ongoing learning opportunities to continue to create an organizational culture that supports Peer Specialists/Advocates working within interdisciplinary teams.
- Provide tools and educational resources to organizations on how to ensure Peer Specialists/Advocates are able to maintain fidelity to peer support values and recovery and resilience-oriented practices through enhanced competency-based training and ongoing learning for all mental health organizations.
- Increase the retention and job satisfaction of peer support staff and supervisors/managers through quality peer-informed or peer-led supervision and consultation.