Certified Peer Support Specialists and Services

Certified peer specialists are individuals who have a lived experience of mental illness and are trained to be direct service mental health staff. Since 2007, Minnesota has been building capacity for this service.

Agencies interested in employing Certified Peer Specialists

Agencies interested in employing Certified Peer Specialists under the Medicaid rehabilitation services option must submit a Certified Peer Specialist Agency Request for Technical Assistance and an Implementation Plan.

Medicaid Rehabilitation Services include:

  • • Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services (ARMHS) certified by DHS
  • • Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams approved by DHS
  • • Crisis Response -Stabilization providers certified by DHS
  • • Intensive Residential Treatment Services (IRTS) providers licensed by DHS

  • Technical assistance for employers will be provided by DHS Adult Mental Health Division staff. Staff will assist agencies in understanding the requirements to incorporate these services within their existing program. Billing and reporting systems will differ for each service type. For more information, please contact Shelley White at shelley.white@state.mn.us or 651-431-2518.

    For detailed information for providers, supervision requirements and administrative requirements pleases refer to Mental Health Provider Manual.

    How a person becomes a Certified Peer Specialist

    In Minnesota, Northland Counseling Center coordinates the application process, trainings and maintain a web site for individuals who are interested in learning more about peer services.

    Certification is valid for two years. To retain certification, Peer Specialists must complete and provide documentation of 30 hours to DHS of continuing education in areas of mental health recovery, mental health rehabilitative services, and peer support.

    Peers are certified for one of two levels:

    Certified Peer Specialist Level 1

    To be employed as a Certified Peer Specialist Level 1, an individual must:

  • • Be at least 21 years old
  • • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • • Have or have had a primary diagnosis of mental illness
  • • Have received or is currently receiving mental health services
  • • Be willing to share their experience of recovery
  • • Successfully complete the Department approved CPS training
  • • Be certified by the Department.
  • Certified Peer Specialist Level 2

    To be employed as a Certified Peer Specialist Level 2, an individual must meet all of the qualifications of a Certified Peer Specialist Level I and meet one or more of the following:

  • • Is qualified at the Mental Health Practitioner level as defined by Minnesota Statute 245.462, subdivision 17
  • • Has at least 6,000 hours of supervised experience in the delivery of peer services to persons with mental illness
  • • Has at least 4000 hours of supervised experience in the delivery of services to persons with mental illness and an additional 2000 hours of supervised experience in the delivery of peer services to persons with mental illness.

  • To learn more about peer services or to apply for the training visit www.peerslinktohope.org

    Or contact Judy Benham at jbenham@northlandcounseling.org or 218-910-6223.


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