Peer Support Master Classes

These resources were created by Mental Health America, a SMI Adviser content partner, and approved by the SMI Adviser clinical expert team for inclusion in the knowledge base.

Mental Health America has created a series of 5 peer support Master Classes. These classes supplement the information provided by most peer support trainings and prepare individuals to take the examination for the advanced level, National Certified Peer Specialist (NCPS) credential, or other advanced peer support credentials. The classes also qualify for the continuing education requirements set by most states for their certification.


Activation and Self-Management discusses some of the complexities of achieving awareness of the importance of becoming an active self-manager on one’s health. There is significant evidence that having the knowledge, skills and confidence to manage one’s health is related to better health outcomes.

Enhanced Goal Setting and Decision Making examines the difficulties that many people face when trying to set goals and achieve them. Change is difficult and changing health habits is one of the most difficult changes of all. This PowerPoint teaches peer specialists a method for helping people to look deep into their reasons for making important changes. In order to develop action plans for change the individual needs to examine their goals on a deeply emotional level. Often, what we say are our goals are actually steps towards achieving our real goals.

Foundations of Health Care Systems is a new subject for peer support training. Some trainings look at state systems and how local services are provided but there is little emphasis on the importance of these subjects. This presentation not only looks at the overall structure of how behavioral health is funded and organized, it also looks at the individual professions that are involved in care and a sampling of the clinical methods people may encounter. The purpose of this is to provide peer specialists with the information they may need to help people navigate the healthcare system.

Story Telling, Mentoring, Shared Learning and Relationship Building is designed to reinforce some of the original training that peers have experienced and to assist peer specialists in taking a fresh perspective on what it means to be in a assistive relationship with another peer that allows the specialist to provide information, support and guidance while maintaining the principles of mutuality and equality.

Trauma Informed Peer Support and the Impact of Social Determinants takes a closer look at the effects of Social Determinants and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) than most peer support trainings and discusses how peer support might be effective in changing social determinants and in creating better outcomes for those who have grown up with adverse childhood experiences. The effects of trauma and the concept of trauma informed peer support are examined. Individuals working in peer support sometimes don’t understand that social cues and behavior have different meanings and effects for people who have experienced life changing trauma. Peer support for a trauma survivor benefits greatly when the supporter has had similar experiences.

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