SB 906 Certified Peer Support Specialist
status: sb 906 was vetoed by the governor
The big picture. SB 906 is a critical piece of legislation that allows qualified peer providers – people who have lived experience as clients, family members, or caretakers of individuals recovering from mental illness or addiction – to be certified by the state to deliver services to other individuals with such disorders. Both research and anecdote back up that individuals with lived experience of mental illness are profoundly suited to provide powerful guidance to others on a similar journey.
The details. A peer provider is a person who combines specialized training and their own lived experience with mental illness and/or substance use disorder and recovery, to deliver valuable support services.This bill requires the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to establish a Certified Support Specialist (CSS) certification program. The program defines the range of responsibilities and practice guidelines for peer support specialists, specifies required training and continuing education requirements, determines clinical supervision requirements, and establishes a code of ethics and processes for revocation of certification. SB 906 authorizes DHCS to amend the State’s Medicaid Plan to add peer support providers as a provider type within the Medi-Cal program.
The research. Across the nation, peer support programs have emerged as a successful practice with proven benefits to both peers and their clients. Peers can include people who have lived experience as clients, family members, or caretakers of individuals living with mental illness. Studies show that using peer support specialists helps reduce hospitalizations, improves functioning, increases satisfaction, alleviates depression and other symptoms, and diversifies the mental health workforce.
The story. Peer support programs can have a real and drastic influence on people's lives, especially when they need it most. We are happy to share stories of those who have found recovery through peer to peer programs, in the hope that others can follow their lead. Please visit our #31daysofrecovery page which features the real-life stories of people finding recovery.
read Pamela'S story
"Writing these words are the scariest thing I have ever done but most necessary because if it had not been for NAMI I was going to end my life. No one can ever know the scream inside that haunts me. I have suffered in Silence. Today it is my hope that my story will help others use their voices to change how we do things in our communities and counties. On May 11 2016 my brother Shawn committed suicide. I speak truth to power so I can help others see what needs to change in our communities..."
nami peer PROGRAMS:
NAMI PEER-TO-PEER is a free, 10 session class to help adults living with mental health challenges achieve and maintain wellness
NAMI Connections is a free and confidential support group for adults living with mental health challenges
NAMI Veterans Program provides the a wide range of resources for everyone touched by military service.
NAMI Workforce & Education - Family and Peer Support Webinar Training is devoted to giving peers and family members an opportunity to learn about educational skills such as the Recovery Model, Communication Skills, Trauma Informed Care, among others.
Supporters of SB 906
Steinberg Institute (sponsor)
American Civil Liberties Union of California
Association of California Healthcare Districts
Association of Community Human Service Agencies
Bay Area Community Services
California Alliance of Child and Family Services
California Association of Mental Health Peer-Run Organizations
California Behavioral Health Planning Council
California Disability Community Action Network
California State Association of Counties
California Youth Empowerment Network
County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California
Disability Rights California
Massage Garage Pit Crew
Mental Health America of California
Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission
Pool of Consumer Champions
Self-Help and Recovery Exchange
The Village Family Services
United Advocates for Children and Families
United Advocates for Children and Families Action Alliance
Western Center on Law and Poverty