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.
Last Updated: January 2019
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.