What is a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS)?
Via Hope operates the only statewide training and certification program for peer specialists that is recognized by the Health and Human Services Commission.
What is Peer Support?
Peer support can look and sound like many different things, but at its essence peer support is the act of people who have had similar experiences with mental health challenges giving each other encouragement, hope, assistance, guidance, and understanding that mutually supports each other’s recovery.
What is a Certified Peer Specialist?
A Via Hope Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) is an individual in recovery from mental health challenges who has been trained in a number of important skills necessary to peer support, including being able to effectively use their recovery story to support other individuals with their own recovery.
Certified Peer Specialists provide hope, encouragement, and support to people who are experiencing mental health challenges. They also support a person’s self-determination by exploring what recovery means to that person and how that person can best advocate for their needs and goals for their own recovery. Certified Peer Specialists can work in both one-on-one relationships and group settings. Peer specialists are always mutual, authentic, honest, open-minded, and respectful.
In order to become a Certified Peer Specialist, a person must take a certification training and pass a certification exam that demonstrates they have mastered a set of competencies related to peer support. Via Hope offers the only statewide training and certification program for peer specialists that is recognized by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. For more information, please visit our page on our Certified Peer Specialist Training and Certification program.
Where do Certified Peer Specialists work?
Certified Peer Specialists may work in any organizational setting where people are receiving mental health services. Most often Certified Peer Specialists work in community mental health centers or state hospitals. However, many Certified Peer Specialists work in peer-run organizations, veteran services, private mental health centers, criminal justice, juvenile justice, education, and so on!
I want to become a Certified Peer Specialist! Am I eligible?
Maybe! Here is a basic list of eligibility requirements to attend the Via Hope Peer Specialist Certification training. In order to attend our training, you must be:
- At least 18 years old with a mental health diagnosis and current or prior use of mental health services;
- Able to use your own experiences to help others with their recovery;
- Willing to publicly identify as a person in recovery from mental health challenges in order to model the reality of recovery.
- A high school graduate or have completed a G.E.D; and
- Currently working or volunteering as a CPS (or actively looking for opportunities).
If you believe you’re eligible and want to learn more about when our next training is, please visit our Calendar to find the next upcoming Peer Specialist Certification training!