Via Hope has embarked on national initiatives that will impact our mission of changing the way we all look at Behavioral Health.
Trainings By Peers, For Peers
Via Hope has provided leadership in curriculum design and development for Peer Specialists in Texas since 2009 and now has an in-house curriculum writing team that is made up entirely of Certified Peer Specialists. You can read about Via Hope’s rich history here. Via Hope is now creating a national footprint by offering many of our trainings in various states. All our curricula are developed based on a specific process that includes a workgroup with a cross-section of individuals. Those individuals have various lived experiences in the specific subject matter. This part of the process helps ensure equity, inclusion and diversity. All of our trainings have a trauma informed focus. The trainings include:
- 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.
HRSA TRAINING GRANT
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
HOW BEING TRAUMA-INFORMED IMPROVES CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM RESPONSES
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.