News and Notes for January 31

This latest edition of the News & Notes email includes a number of items that highlight the value and complexity of peer support. They include two surveys, on one the stress experienced by those in the peer workforce, and another on peer supervision practices. There’s also new information to highlight the positive impact of the peer support approach, as well as a webinar emphasizing the importance of self-care for those in the peer workforce.

Of course, the tug of war between stress and self-care is something that everyone experiences, whether they are a peer support specialist or not. On the one hand, we expect life to come with a certain amount of stress, and whatever work we do or projects we take on are worth the effort. On the other hand, it can be easy to take on too much, and forget to take care of yourself before you take care of others.

As you get back to work in this New Year, we hope that you are able to weave self-care into your own approach to life, and take the time you need to make sure you are well before taking on the work of supporting others and advocating for recovery!


Webinar: Best Practices in Peer Support Training

Monday, February 5th
3:30 pm ET

With the launch of the first advanced National Certified Peer Specialist Certification, individuals across the country have the opportunity to get certified, explore new career paths, and expand a growing and needed mental health workforce. To ensure the best outcomes and biggest impact for both peer specialists and those they support, individuals need to receive Peer Support Training. In this National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) webinar, learn from two national leaders in Peer Support training on the history, fundamentals, and best practices in training and how to join the growing network of trained and certified Peer Support Specialists.

Learn more and register at


Informational Briefs Showcase the Value of Peers

BRSS TACS recently released four informational briefs that highlight the value of peer supports. The briefs explain what peer support workers do, describe the unique contributions peer support workers bring to an organization and articulate how peer support makes a difference in the lives of peers, families, and caregivers.

Peer Support

Peers Supporting Recovery From Mental Health Conditions

Peers Supporting Recovery From Substance Use Disorders

Family, Parent, and Caregiver Peer Support in Behavioral Health


Survey: Stress and the Peer Workforce

Do you currently work as a peer support provider? ​If so, your perspective on work-related stress is needed. Peer supporters are invited to share their feedback on workplace stress in an ongoing research effort. You may be eligible to participate if you were trained and currently provide direct peer support services in a mental health organization, paid or unpaid; you use your own recovery experience to assist others with mental health & other life challenges; and you are over age 18 and work in the United States.

For more information and to participate in the survey, visit


Peer Supervision Survey

Are you a supervisor of peer workers? If so, this is for you! The survey takes, on average, 7 minutes to complete. The results will be used to create guidance on supervising peer workers. The survey will close on January 31, 2018.


Webinar: Successfully Employing Peer Specialist: A Framework and Tools

Tuesday, February 6th
2:30 pm – 3:30 pm ET

This webinar from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors will offer a framework for, and specific tools on, successfully employing peer specialists. It will include information on clarifying the peer specialist role; recruiting, hiring, and training of peers; educating and supporting non-peer staff; using the reasonable accommodation (Americans with Disabilities Act) Employee Assistance Programs to address job difficulties and support good performance; team building; and key components/elements of organizational culture and infrastructure.

Center for Peer Support Newsletter

Mental Health America’s Center for Peer Support has launched a new newsletter to keep peer support specialists and other members of the mental health workforce up to date on developments in the peer support field.

Sign up for it at, and visit MHA’s Center for Peer Support at


Nominate Now for SAMHSA’s 2018 Voice Awards!

SAMHSAʹs Voice Awards program honors consumer, peer, and family leaders who are improving the lives of people with mental illnesses and substance use disorders in communities across the country. The awards program also recognizes television and film productions that educate the public about behavioral health and showcase that recovery is real and possible through treatment and recovery supports.

SAMHSAʹs 2018 Voice Awards will pay special attention to individuals and entertainment productions that are raising awareness about serious mental illness and opioid use disorders.

All nominations are due by March 16, 2018. Visit for more information about the awards program, event updates, and instructions for submitting nominations.


Harris Co., Texas, Sheriff’s Office Tests ‘Telepsych’ Program To Help With Mental Health Cases

A new tele-psychiatry pilot program that recently debuted in Houston arms deputies with tablets equipped to dial in to psychiatrists for urgent video chats, offering professional help out in the field to people who don’t necessarily need to go to jail or an emergency room. The program is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.


Webinar: Criminal Justice, the Americans with Disabilities Act and People with Mental Illnesses

Monday, February 26th
2:30-4:00 pm ET

There is universal acceptance that people with mental illnesses are over-represented in the criminal justice system. This challenge has sparked many reform efforts, but often these efforts fail to focus on the broader systemic problems that have led to this reality. This NASMHPD webinar will bring that systemic focus to the problem through the lens of the Americans with Disabilities Act’s integration mandate and lessons learned from systematic mental health systems reform. It will discuss how mental health, criminal justice, and correctional programs can work together to meet ADA obligations and ensure an array of services that reduce the likelihood that people with mental illnesses will enter the criminal justice system.

Learn more and register at


Webinar Series: Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy (CT-R)

“Team-based CT-R for Building Empowerment and Resilience”

Wednesday, February 7th
1:00 – 2:00 pm ET

“Implementation of CT-R Across a System, Lessons of Success”

Wednesday, February 21st
1:00 – 2:00 pm ET

SAMHSA’s Recovery to Practice program is currently hosting a four-part webinar series on recovery and cognitive therapy. Upcoming topics include “Team-based CT-R for Building Empowerment and Resilience” and “Implementation of CT-R Across a System, Lessons of Success.”  Earlier sessions, “Theory, Evidence, and Activating the Adaptive Mode in CT-R” and “Discovering Meaningful Aspirations and Taking Action with CT-R” are available as recordings.

Register at

Find the Recovery to Practice program online at


New Resources for Disaster Survivors

The SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC) has developed new materials to help people that have experienced multiple disasters, and may be experiencing the effects of retraumatization. Retraumatization means reliving stress reactions experienced as a result of a traumatic event when faced with a new, similar incident.

View the new tip sheet called “Tips for Survivors of a Disaster or Other Traumatic Event: Coping With Retraumatization” at

You can also find additional disaster recovery resources at


Statement Regarding the National Registry of Evidence Programs and Practices (NREPP) and SAMHSA’s New Approach to Implementation of Evidence-based Practices 

SAMHSA recently announced that it will no longer maintain the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices. Read a statement on this decisions and the agency’s path forward in terms of validating programs and practices from Assistant Secretary Elinore McCance-Katz.


College Can Be Brutal for Students with Serious Mental Health Conditions

This article from STAT takes a look at the struggles of students with mental health needs, and the pioneering “niteo” approach to supported education at Boston University.


Student Outcry Led to Reduced Costs for Mental Health Services at the University of Texas

Most people probably wouldn’t list cost as a significant barrier to accessing mental health services for college students, but it can be. Students at one university have come together to address it, using their advocacy voices to create policy change.


Webinar: Self-Direction through Personalized Budgeting

Tuesday, February 27th
2:00pm ET

Self-direction is a model for organizing supports in which the participant manages an individual budget to purchase a variety of services and goods used to facilitate their recovery journey. This webinar will start with an introduction to Self-Directed Care (SDC), including a brief history and the places that are testing it out.

Read more and register at


Study Shows Stigma around Mental Health on Campus Correlates with Students Not Seeking Treatment

According to a UCLA-led research team that examined data from the Healthy Minds Study, which surveys campuses across the country, there is a correlation between negative attitudes toward mental health and a reluctance to seek help.


Tyler Hilinski’s Death Sparks Conversation about Suicide on College Campuses

The recent suicide of Tyler Hilinski, quarterback of the Washington State University football team, highlights the unique mental health challenges faced by student athletes, while illustrating that a mental health crisis can affect any member of the campus community.