Growing bodies of research are showing that peer providers are helping clients attain and maintain long-term recovery from mental challenges, including substance use.
A peer provider is a person who has “lived experience” with the recovery process from mental illness, substance use disorder, or other significant traumas, or if they have experienced a close family member undergo the recovery process. Within the behavioral health system of care, they provide supportive services, working closely with clinical treatment providers.
For several years, Pacific Clinics has trained and employed peer partners, peer health navigators, harm reduction specialists, parent/family advocates, service extenders and youth partners.
Recently, we were selected for two enhancements to our current program.
- In addition to being a California Mental Health Services Authority-approved vendor for the 80-hour Medi-Cal peer support specialist training, Pacific Clinics was approved to offer two 40-hour peer specialization trainings: peer services for the unhoused specialization and peer services for crisis care.
- We have also been awarded a $1 million grant from the Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) for our PC Peer Careers Program.
This funding will allow us to train and provide job placement for 200 individuals with lived experience across the state who would like to enter the behavioral health field. The program is completely free for individuals who participate and offers financial assistance to cover the application and exam fee.
“This positions Pacific Clinics as one of the top peer training programs in the state,” says Audrey Read Brown, regional executive director, new business. “This also provides a clear pipeline (with resources) to fill the peer support specialist/parent partner type roles within our agency.”
“We have a variety of peer positions which currently do not require the certification, “says Prue Cooper, director of paraprofessional/SUD training and innovation. “We are strongly encouraging our employees to become certified because in the future certification will be required for all peer positions that bill Medi-Cal.”
Among Pacific Clinics’ peer roles include peer partner, peer health navigator, harm reduction specialist, parent/family advocate, service extender and youth partner.
Robert Keener, certified peer harm reduction specialist, says, “While I don’t have all of the answers for clients, I do have shared experiences on both sides of recovery, which can be very helpful.”
Robert, who has 25 years of sobriety, says, “I tell clients, ‘Don’t do, just try.’”
To learn more about our peer certification programs, email firstname.lastname@example.org.