National Initiatives

Via Hope has embarked on multiple initiatives that expand beyond Texas

Trainings By Peers, For Peers

  • Peer Practice: Diversity & Inclusion
  • Peer Practice: Telling our Stories
  • Peer Practice: Crisis Support 
  • Addressing Secondary Trauma: Building a Foundation for Wellness & Sustainability
  • ReEntry Peer Specialist Certification Training
  • Group Facilitation: A Peer-Based Approach
  • Healing-Centered Peer Support: An Approach for Peers Working with Trauma
  • Ethics – Mental Health Peer Specialist (online)
  • Ethics – Recovery Support Peer Specialist (online)

Our team is devoted to bringing high quality trainings, informed by lived experience and professional knowledge. The details of these trainings can be found on our continuing education page. Keep an eye out for new trainings to come!

Did you Hear?

Via Hope RPS participant Doren “Red” Gilbert (RPS, MHPS) was featured along with Dr. Sandra D. Smith in an American Psychological Association article on life after prison and the importance of reentry peer support!

Via Hope’s Peer Program Manager Dr. Sandra D. Smith was a featured panelist at Rise22, the annual conference for addiction treatment, law, and recovery professionals hosted by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) in Nashville, TN, Dr. Smith spoke at the session Coming Home: Supports and Solutions for Individuals Returning From Jails and Prisons.

SAMHSA (PRA-Policy Research Associates)
Q & A: Sandra Smith, phd

Peer Programs Manager, Via Hope

You are the Peer Programs Manager at Via Hope, Mental Health Resource of Texas. What does this role entail, and how do you incorporate your expertise as a peer into this work?

I serve as a management team member at Via Hope, a Texas-based non-profit organization. As the Peer Programs Manager, I am responsible for Mental Health Peer Specialist and Reentry Peer Specialist (RPS) certification training. I also serve as the Project Director for a workforce development grant funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Through both roles, my team recruits and trains individuals, develops curricula, and studies peer support best practices. The accomplishments I am most proud of are the creation of the Texas Reentry Peer Specialist Certification and its approval as a national peer certification and training by Mental Health America.


Breaking new ground

September 2021 Via Hope officially announced the launch of a four year pilot program! This pilot is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a division of the U.S. Health and Human Services. This Behavioral Health Education and Training (BHWET) grant has allowed for the creation of the Via Hope Peer Specialist Training Program


Via Hope Offers This Training

SAMHSA’s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation, operated by Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA), is known nationally for its work regarding people with behavioral health needs involved in the criminal justice system. There is growing recognition that trauma can play a significant role in criminal justice involvement. Although prevalence estimates vary, there is consensus that high percentages of justice-involved women and men have experienced serious trauma throughout their lifetime. The reverberating effects of traumatic experiences can challenge a person’s capacity for recovery and pose significant barriers to accessing services, often resulting in an increased risk of coming into contact with the criminal justice system. 

Training approved by the National Mental Health of America

Via Hope’s Reentry Peer Specialist Certification Training has been approved by the National Mental Health of America as a National Certified Peer Specialist Certification.

(all MHA applications are currently on hold)

Reentry Peer Specialist Training a Reference for SAMHSA

Via Hope’s Reentry Peer Specialist Training is a Reference for the SAMHSA GAINS Policy Research Associates Sequential Intercept Model (Intercept 4-Reentry). We are honored to be featured by an organization working for large-scale positive social change as a resource with the potential to positively impact the nation.

Co-presentation with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Via Hope partnered with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for a Peer-Led Innovations in Reentry Support Program webinar! Our Peer Programs Manager Dr. Sandra D. Smith served as one of three presenters covering the subjects of supporting reentry peer specialists and reentry peer support programs aimed at helping formerly incarcerated people return to and thrive in their community.

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