Peer Support: A Growing Field
Peer support is a growing field within mental health.
Peer Support Professionals are individuals who identify themselves in recovery with Behavioral Health (mental illness diagnosis, history of trauma, and/or addiction), incarceration, and/or a family member. These are two completely different perspectives when it comes to recovery and helping others through their own journeys. Being able to empathize and empower others at various stages in recovery with personal experiences is what makes Peer Support such an important part of the recovery journey and its success.
What do Peer Support Professionals do?
- Partner with those they serve and represent them at the table with a treatment team
- Assist consumers in understanding the process of services, forms being used, types of questions, and updates
- Be present for the consumer
- Provide support & encouragement
- Assist the consumer in Voice & Choice (teach them self-advocacy)
- Offer perspective and hope to the consumer on behalf of the treatment team
- Offer insight and perspective to the treatment team on behalf of the consumer
- Share personal examples
- Support wellness and model recovery values
- Support harm reduction as part of the recovery process
- Support all stages of recovery and relapse
- Offer future oriented dialogue
- Be accepting, understanding, non-judgmental, empowering (voice, choice, affirmation, recognition, and advocacy)
Learn what it takes to be a Peer Support Specialist in Alaska.
Have you experienced and recovered from trauma, addiction, or mental illness? Or, have you supported a partner, child, or member of your immediate family in their recovery? Use those lived experiences to help others!
Alaska Behavioral Health is offering peer support training throughout 2021. Training participants will come away with the skills and qualifications to work as peer support specialists in Alaska.
Past participants have come away from the training with new ways of looking at their own mental health stories and feeling empowered to use their stories to help others. For example, participant Dan Meehan says, “I learned a lot about my strengths and even strengths I didn’t see as strengths.”
Upcoming training dates and options:
Evening Classes on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 6-9pm;
- March 2 – April 8
- April 15 – May 27
- June 8 – July 15
- August 3 – September 4
- October 5 – November 13
Weeklong trainings are Monday-Friday from 9-6pm;
- February 1-5
- March 1-5
- April 5-9
- May 3-7
- June 7-11
- July 12-16
- Aug 2-6
- September 13-17
- October 4-8
- November 15-19
Saturday course are 9-6pm each day.
- March 6 – April 3
- April 24 – May 22
- June 12 – July 17
- August 7 – September 4
- October 16 – November 13
The training is a hybrid of self-directed and live training. First, participants need to complete a 6 hour on-line class. Then, they will attend 34 hours of live training, in-person or via Zoom. The class will respect all CDC guidelines and social distancing requirements for those attending in person.
The training is provided at no cost through support from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority. However, you will need to provide your own lunch and transportation. Contact Jenifer Galvan at Alaska Behavioral Health to see if this opportunity fits into your journey.