Guiding Principles for Mental Health Peer Specialists
Via Hope’s training for peer specialists assures peers, families, employers, and the public that individuals trained by Via Hope as peer specialists are qualified and competent in a set of educational principles and experiences needed to perform the responsibilities of a Mental Health Peer Specialist. Via Hope has adopted the following Core Values and Key Concepts, the Mental Health Peer Specialist Code of Ethics, and the Rules of Conduct listed below to ensure that each peer specialist will conform their behavior to the highest standards of ethical practice. Via Hope’s standards equal or exceed ethical standards adopted by the certification entity(ies) for the HB1486 process.
Mental Health Peer Specialist Code of Ethics
The principles in the following Code of Ethics guide Texas Mental Health Peer Specialists in their roles, relationships and levels of responsibility in which they function professionally.
- The primary responsibility of Mental Health Peer Specialists is to help individuals achieve their own needs, wants, and goals. Mental Health Peer Specialists will be guided by the principle of self-determination for all.
- Mental Health Peer Specialists will maintain high standards of personal conduct. Mental Health Peer Specialists will also conduct themselves in a manner that fosters their own recovery.
- Mental Health Peer Specialists will openly share their recovery stories, and will likewise be able to identify and describe the supports that promote their recovery.
- Mental Health Peer Specialists will, at all times, respect the rights and dignity of those they serve.
- Mental Health Peer Specialists will never intimidate, threaten, harass, use undue influence, physical force or verbal abuse, or make unwarranted promises of benefits to the individuals they serve.
- Mental Health Peer Specialists will not practice, condone, facilitate or collaborate in any form of discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, race, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, national origin, marital status, political belief, mental or physical disability, military status, or any other preference or personal characteristic, condition or state.
- Mental Health Peer Specialists will advocate for those they serve that they may make their own decisions in all matters when dealing with other professionals.
- Mental Health Peer Specialists will respect the privacy and confidentiality of those they serve.
- Mental Health Peer Specialists will advocate for the full integration of individuals into the communities of their choice and will promote the inherent value of these individuals to those communities. Mental Health Peer Specialists will be directed by the knowledge that all individuals have the right to live in the least restrictive and least intrusive environment.
- Mental Health Peer Specialists will not enter into dual relationships or commitments that conflict with the interests of those they support.
- Mental Health Peer Specialists will not engage in sexual/intimate activities with those to whom they are currently providing support, or have worked with in a professional role in the past two years.
- Mental Health Peer Specialists will not provide services to another when under the influence of alcohol or when impaired by any substance, whether or not it is prescribed.
- Mental Health Peer Specialists will keep current with emerging knowledge relevant to recovery, and openly share this knowledge with their colleagues.
- Mental Health Peer Specialists will not accept gifts of significant value from those they serve.
A peer specialist may not:
a) practice psychotherapy, make clinical or diagnostic assessments, or dispense expert opinions;
b) engage in any service that requires a license;
c) falsify any documentation related to application, training, testing, certification, or services provided under this subchapter;
d) retaliate against any person who, in good faith, makes a complaint or files a grievance against the peer specialist regarding services provided under this subchapter;
e) engage in conduct that is prohibited by state, federal, or local law, including those laws prohibiting the use, possession, or distribution of drugs or alcohol;
f) participate in, condone, or promote discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, physical disability, or economic status in the performance of peer specialist services or training;
g) delay or fail to report suspicion of abuse or neglect to the proper authority;
h) violate law, rule, or policy related to a recipient’s privacy and confidentiality;
i) violate professional and personal boundaries, including having sexual contact with a recipient;
j) have a dual relationship with a recipient
For more in-depth discussion of Ethics, see National Ethical Guidelines and Practice Standards: National Practice Guidelines for Peer Supporters at: http://www.williamwhitepapers.com.
Last Updated: January 2019
All ethics complaints should now be reported to the Texas Certification Board:401 Ranch Road 620 South, Suite 310
Austin, TX 78734
Ph. (512) 708-0629
Fax (888) 506-8123
Mental Health Peer Specialist Core Values & Key Concepts
In April 2017, the Certified Peer Specialist Advisory Council adopted the following core values that serve as the foundation for all Via Hope Certified Peer Specialists in Texas:
In addition, the Certified Peer Specialist Advisory Council also adopted the following key concepts that guide the individual and collective work of Certified Peer Specialists in Texas:
These core values and key principles serve as guiding principles for Texas MHPS when engaging in peer relationships; they are foundational components to the Mental Health Peer Specialist Certification Training and are woven throughout the Mental Health Peer Specialist Code of Ethics.