The mission of The Mental Health Association of Westchester County, Inc. is to promote mental health in Westchester, New York through advocacy, community education and direct services.

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Sterling Community Center Peer Specialist Training Curriculum

Course Title:  Peer Specialist Training

Frequency and Duration: Twice per week for thirteen weeks, two hours per class

Internship: Twelve week placement, six to ten hours per week

Course Overview:

    Description: The Peer Specialist Training will cover 26 classes, each of which is designed to impart knowledge regarding the recovery process and to teach peer support, engagement and reflective listening skills.  Additionally, the course will cover the psychosocial dimensions of recovery and an overview of the mental health system where many participants receive services. Other topics that will be covered will include; self-care, life and WRAP planning, trauma informed peer support, and working within a human service agency. The Peer Training will emphasize counseling skills using the Intentional Peer Support model. Participants will engage in a variety of activities as they learn to master the “how-to” aspect of these peer support skills.  Some of these classroom activities will include warm-up exercises, handouts, homework assignments, role playing training exercises, and discussion.

    Goals:  The training is designed to assist participants in determining if becoming a Peer Support Specialist is a vocational area they would want to pursue.  Through interactive trainings and hands on experiences through an internship placement participants will learn peer support skills and the knowledge to determine their own readiness to become a Peer Specialist.  Additionally, the training can assist seasoned experienced peers in helping them fine tune their skills and add to their knowledge base. Beyond this, the Peer Training will provide support and assistance for students who wish to pursue their Peer Specialist Certification credential, new in New York State this year. Our computer lab provides access to the online courses required for this credential and our staff will assist participants with all aspects of the credentialing process.

    Expected Outcomes:  Participants who complete the training, will gain the foundational skills to provide peer support in both professional and peer run mental health service settings. Participants will receive a training certificate after completing the training from MHA of Westchester and will then be assisted with finding a three month internship within the mental health service system. When the classroom and internship phases of our training are complete, we will support graduates of the peer training in looking for and maintaining paid employment as peer specialists. The training does not guarantee paid job placements, although participants who did not pursue paid work, have indicated the training was helpful in their own recovery. In addition to completing the class, participants will be encouraged to pursue peer specialist certification through the online Academy of Peer Services in New York State.

For more information on the training, please contact:
Jeff Zitofsky, or 914.949.1212 x 7115.



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