Public Comment for SAMHSA’s National Model Standards for Peer Support Certification
On March 1, 2022, President Biden announced his administration’s strategy to address our national mental health crisis, outlined in the 2022 Presidential Unity Agenda. This national mental health strategy seeks to strengthen system capacity, connect more Americans to care, and create a continuum of support –transforming our health and social services infrastructure to address mental health holistically and equitably. Within this strategy, and with the primary goal of accelerating universal adoption, recognition, and integration of the peer mental health workforce across all elements of the healthcare system, President Biden proposed the development and implementation of a national certification program for mental health peer specialists. To meet this goal, SAMHSA collaborated with federal, state, tribal, and local expert partners to develop a draft set of National Model Standards for Peer Support Certification, inclusive of mental health, substance use, and family & youth peer certifications. These National Model Standards closely align with the needs of the behavioral health (peer) workforce, and subsequently, the over-arching goal of the national mental health strategy.
SAMHSA’s Office of Recovery, in partnership with our federal, state, tribal, and local expert partners across the peer workforce, is currently overseeing several critical phases in the development of these standards. These include:
- Updating the Comparative Analysis of State Requirements for Peer Support Specialist Training and Certification in the United States, in partnership with SAMHSA’s Peer Recovery Center of Excellence.
- Convening a diverse set of technical experts with a range of identities, lived experience, and professional expertise to develop a framework and key considerations for the National Model Standards (titled ‘SAMHSA’s Technical Expert Panel on Peer Support Certification’, or TEP for short).
- Utilizing the TEP framework, Comparative Analysis of State Requirements, various state certifications, and other resources such as SAMHSA’ Core Competencies for Peer Workers to draft the standards.
- Employing a public comment process to solicit and incorporate additional feedback and expertise from the peer workforce.
- Publish the final version of the National Model Standards for Peer Support Certification.