Peer Specialists work throughout the United States in mental health, substance use treatment, physical health, hospital, and other settings. Peer Specialists are uniquely qualified because of their training and personal recovery from a serious mental health situation and/or addiction. Initial and ongoing training increase their competency in this growing profession.
The inclusion of Peer Specialist services in a person’s recovery journey has been found to promote hope that recovery is possible, reduce hospitalization days, increase treatment/recovery engagement, yield positive outcomes.
Wyoming includes many job descriptions within its definition of peer specialists including recovery coach, recovery specialist, peer wellness coach, peer mentor, and peer advocate.
Peer Specialist Certification
The Behavioral Health Division will provide a certificate to Peer Specialists who have met training and other criteria. The criteria were set using Medicaid requirements and through a consensus of Peer Specialists, community mental health & substance use treatment centers, and other stakeholders. Please check this page for the most recent information and application.
Download both the requirements and application form:
Wyoming Peer Specialist Certification Requirements v4 (pdf document)
Wyo CPS application form (Word document)
If you are a new peer specialist and have never held Wyoming certification, this condensed form is for you:
Wyo CPS application form-FOR NEW APPLICANTS (Word document)
(Note: If you provide your employment address/email, please let us know if you change jobs. You may use your home contact information on the application.)
Resources to help you get started and keep you going:
Doors to Wellbeing (recorded webinars and tools)
INAPS recorded Webinars
Favorites: (You can lead groups on any of these subjects!)
All of these are lead by leaders in the Peer Specialist profession.
Build your Resume and Get that Job!
Helping people get employment and education (with Lyn Legrere)
Practicing Recovery Leadership (with Pat Deegan)
Peer Support: Then and Now (with Beth Filson)
Hospital to Community: A Process of Inclusion (with Gina Kay Calhoun)
Critical Skills for Activating Self-Management (with Sue Bergeson)
Peer Specialists Make a Difference (SAMHSA site) (Recorded webinars, resource library, facts)
Agency Readiness to Promote Recovery
Peer-Specialist-Employer-Readiness (MS Word document)
(This is an online interactive pdf. It is a long document. Recommend that you and your supervisor peruse together.)
Information about Medicaid billing of Peer Specialist Services
Wyoming Peer Specialist Medicaid Bulletin (August 2007)
CMS Guidance on Medicaid Billing (February 2007)
CMS Clarifying Guidance (May 2013, Family Support and Other)
Wyoming Peer Specialist Information
Core Competencies for Wyoming’s Peer Specialists
Knowledge of Mental Health/Substance Use Conditions and Treatments
- Recognize signs and coping strategies, including the grief process
- Know when to refer to a clinician
- Know when to report to a supervisor
- Understand interactions of physical and behavioral health
- Understand scope of duties and role
- Understand HIPAA/protected health information/confidentiality
- Maintain professional boundaries
- Recognize potential risks
- Advocate when appropriate
- Engage in work via an atmosphere of mutuality and respect
Basic Work Competencies
- Seek supervision and/or ask for direction
- Accept feedback
- Demonstrate conflict resolutions skills
- Navigate complex work environments
- Maintains and advances work competencies and continuing education
- Follows agency requirements to write documentation
- Submits reports and provides information to promote the overall success of the Peer Specialist approach
- Knowledge of resources and those specific to behavioral health/recovery and physical health (and how to navigate the benefits system)
- Help individuals and families recognize their natural supports
- Helps peers know how to navigate resources towards a recovery outcome
- *Knowledge of public education and special education system and other child-serving systems
- Diversity and cultural competency
- Relationship development
- Use guiding principles pertinent to population served
- Model appropriate use of personal story and self-advocacy
- Goal-setting, problem-solving, teamwork, & conflict resolution
- Engages peers in collaborative and caring relationships
- Utilizes Recovery Language and Person First Language
Resiliency, Recovery and Wellness
- Understands and practices principles of Hope
- Understand principles and concepts of resiliency, recovery, and a wellness oriented lifestyle
- Assist others with their own resiliency and recovery
- Encourage options and choices
- Understand impacts of labels, stigma, discrimination, and bullying
- Understand person-centered resiliency and recovery planning for all ages and stages
- Promote shared decision-making and Client Directed Care
- Understands and promotes recovery and whole health planning models
- Recognize when health may compromise the ability to work
- Acknowledge that personal wellness is a primary responsibility
- Set boundaries between work and personal life
Facilitate Life and Recovery Skills
- Demonstrate wellness
- Facilitate the learning of skills to advance recovery, self-determination, and quality of life
- Effectively facilitate groups to promote mutual learning and engagement
- Encourage the development of natural supports
- Assist people to find and use psycho-education materials
- Walk with (not do for)
- Understand impact of trauma and responses to trauma
- Demonstrate sensitivity and acceptance of individual experiences
- Practice cultural sensitivity
- Promote shared decision-making
The Wyoming Peer Specialist Core Competencies were adapted from the Combined Core Competencies for Colorado’s Peer Specialists/Recovery Coaches and Family Advocates/Family System Navigators, downloaded 12/7/2015, http://www.coloradofederation.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/5-Combined_Core_Competencies_01-25-2013.pdf
Wyoming Peer Specialists Code of Ethics
Peer Specialists are Advocates
- A Peer Specialist understands that recovery is voluntary.
- Peer Specialist services must be chosen instead of required.
- A Peer Specialist will provide advocacy which will be provided by choice not mandated.
Peer Specialists are Hopeful
- A Peer Specialist treats individuals with dignity and respect, honoring commitments, providing support and assistance, while using person first language.
- A Peer Specialist focuses on the strengths, assets, and possibilities rather than then problems.
- A Peer Specialist honors each individuals potential.
- A Peer Specialist carries hope to individuals, families, and communities.
Peer Specialists are Open-Minded
- A Peer Specialist has the responsibility to help others find their own voices.
- A Peer Specialist understands that the roads to recovery are many and learns about the diverse pathways and styles to recovery.
- A Peer Specialist advocates for the principals of human dignity, self-determination and empowerment to find quality of life that is meaningful for each individual.
Peer Specialists are Empathetic
- A Peer Specialist expresses compassion.
- A Peer Specialist accepts individual differences.
- A Peer Specialist honors each individual’s potential while fostering mutual relationships, reducing isolation, inspiring hope, and strengthening the ongoing recovery process.
Peer Specialists are Respectful
- A Peer Specialist supports individuals to make their own choices while honoring self-determination.
- A Peer Specialist maintains fidelity by following through on their word.
- A Peer Specialist respects all provisions of care including confidentiality.
Peer Specialists promote Personal Recovery
- A Peer Specialist takes personal responsibility in self-care and supports their own recovery.
- A Peer Specialist understands that all services hinges on personal recovery.
- A Peer Specialist demonstrates wellness by focusing on personal multidimensional recovery including physical, mental, and emotional health; including substance use.
Peer Specialists are Honest and Direct
- A Peer Specialist is honest in all interactions.
- A Peer Specialist admits when they are wrong.
- A Peer Specialist separates facts from opinions.
- A Peer Specialist keeps it simple, keeps it real.
Peer Specialists Facilitate Change
- A Peer Specialist appropriately challenges injustices.
- A Peer Specialist empowers others to speak and is a voice for the voiceless.
- A Peer Specialists values the importance of community building and identifying healthy natural supports.
- A Peer Specialist stays current with Best Practices and continuing education.
Peer Specialists are Mutual and Reciprocal
- A Peer Specialist does NOT put their own agenda ahead of others.
- A Peer Specialist relationship is an intentional mutual learning experience.
- A Peer Specialist avoids power struggles and favoritism, explores and asks open ended questions rather than giving advice.
- A Peer Specialist does not give up, offering multiple chances.
- A Peer Specialist recognizes when to report inappropriate behaviors.
Peer Specialists are Transparent
- A Peer Specialist shares personal experiences when appropriate.
- A Peer Specialist accurately represents their recovery experience.
Peer Specialists are Person-Driven
- A Peer Specialist has a responsibility to help individuals find their own voices to advocate for the principals of human dignity, self-determination and empowerment in their recovery.
- A Peer Specialist is trauma informed and uses a strengths based approach.
- A Peer Specialist does not exploit, devalue or manipulate individuals they serve.
Peer Specialists maintains Appropriate Relationships
- A Peer Specialist will not engage in intimate relationships with individuals served.
- A Peer Specialist seeks supervision at any time the relationship moves beyond the established professional boundaries, including gift, favors or conflicts of interest.