In December 2013, The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) Creating Opportunities Peer Workforce Development stakeholder group submitted recommendations specifying the required knowledge, skills and abilities for Certified Peer Recovery Specialists in Virginia. The recommendations set forth evolved from the extraordinary research, knowledge, and effort of a large number of people over the previous eight to ten years.
Most members of the DBHDS Commissioner’s advisory group had personal experience with mental health or substance abuse. Others had experience with the current system of behavioral healthcare delivery. Some had both personal experience and system experience. Some had been hospitalized multiple times; others had experience with the justice system. Some were in recovery from multiple addictions and others knew what it was like to experience negative fallout from traumatic events in their lives. Some had been certified by programs across the United States, others had been trained by programs within the state of Virginia. Some had been trainers; others had been trained. Some were employed; some were hoping to become employed. Some called themselves Peer Recovery Coaches, others called themselves Peer Specialists and yet others identified as Recovery Specialists.
What they shared was a conviction that recovery is possible for everyone. They also shared a dream of a training and certification process that would unify, legitimize, and facilitate payment for the services of people in recovery supporting other people seeking recovery. They shared the conviction that the basic relationship skills needed to provide peer recovery support were the same if you were talking about addiction recovery or mental health recovery. They shared the conviction that people in recovery make a difference when holding the hope of recovery for other people.
This group of pioneers coined the title: “Certified Peer Recovery Specialist” as best representing the unified approach to peer support that mirrored emerging research and their own personal experience that people frequently struggled with both addiction and mental health challenges. They merged the “Recovery Coach” title most familiar to the SA recovery community; and the “Peer Specialist” title most familiar to the MH recovery communities.
A major focus of the Office of Recovery Services is the implementation of the Virginia Peer Recovery Certification process recommended by the Creating Opportunities advisory team along with the input and consultation of our valued stakeholders that have helped us along every step of the way.
Virginia Certification Board Information
TRAININGS EVENTS ARTICLES
VOCAL – Peers Speaking out for Mental Health. Together
NAMI VA – National Alliance for the Mentally Ill - VIRGINIA
SAARA – Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery Alliance of VIRGINIA
MHAVa – Mental Health America of VIRGINIA
Recovery Action Focus Team - Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale
Office of Recovery Services Steering Committee
Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers (CCBHC's)