Via Hope envisions a world where quality peer support exists wherever people are experiencing and healing from trauma, mental health challenges and substance use challenges. Therefore, we are working to bring peer support to people who are incarcerated or reentering the community after incarceration.

Via Hope has been the leader in Mental Health Peer Specialist certification training in Texas since 2009. The recent national and international conversations relative to sentencing and prison reform have highlighted the need for programs and training that target one of the most unspoken, underlying challenges of incarceration – trauma. In 2019 Via Hope gathered a workgroup of individuals, with a cross-section of incarceration experiences, to discuss trauma and what was needed to address trauma amongst returning citizens. The workgroup conversations were the catalyst for the current Reentry Peer Specialist certification training. After four years it became very clear that the need for this training and trauma conversations were needed in a broader audience. To that end the trademarked “International Reentry Peer Specialist Certification®” has been born.

Beginning April 2023 ,Via Hope will be offering an international certification for anyone that qualifies and has a desire to help others based on their own lived experience.

Application Requirements:

-Complete the Via Hope Reentry Peer Specialist Certification Training

-Pass the knowledge assessment

-Apply to Via Hope’s International Peer Specialist Certification online

-Pay the $350 application fee

-Earn 20 continuing education units within a 2-year period

Apply for Certification Here

The Reentry Peer Specialist certification training curriculum was developed and co-written by Dr. Sandra D. Smith, who herself was formerly incarcerated, Darcy Kues, JD, and Maureen Nichols. Funding for the development of the Reentry Peer Specialist Training provided by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.

Below are links with specific information on certification training:

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