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Recruitment Intervention Strategies

Credentialing of the Peer Workforce and Core Competencies [2.2.2.I.f.4]

SAMHSA’s Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale: Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS) coordinates the effort to facilitate adoption and implementation of recovery concepts, policies, practices, and services. SAMHSA, in conjunction with subject matter experts, conducted research to identify core competencies for peer workers in behavioral health, which are provided on the website. These outline the capacities needed to easily perform a role or function. They are often described as clusters of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes a person needs in order to successfully perform a role or job, or as the ability to integrate the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

Core Competencies for peer workers reflect certain foundational principles identified by members of the mental health consumer and substance use disorder recovery communities.

These are:
  • RECOVERY-ORIENTED: Peer workers hold out hope to those they serve, partnering with them to envision and achieve a meaningful and purposeful life. Peer workers help those they serve identify and build on strengths and empower them to choose for themselves, recognizing that there are multiple pathways to recovery.
  • PERSON-CENTERED: Peer recovery support services are always directed by the person participating in services. Peer recovery support is personalized to align with the specific hopes, goals, and preferences of the individual served and to respond to specific needs the individuals has identified to the peer worker.
  • VOLUNTARY: Peer workers are partners or consultants to those they serve. They do not dictate the types of services provided or the elements of recovery plans that will guide their work with peers. Participation in peer recovery support services is always contingent on peer choice.
  • RELATIONSHIP-FOCUSED: The relationship between the peer worker and the peer is the foundation on which peer recovery support services and support are provided. The relationship between the peer worker and peer is respectful, trusting, empathetic, collaborative, and mutual.
  • TRAUMA-INFORMED: Peer recovery support utilizes a strengths-based framework that emphasizes physical, psychological, and emotional safety and creates opportunities for survivors to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.
To help understand the core competencies for peer workers, SAMHSA has developed a list of frequently asked questions, available on its website.

In addition, the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, a national family-run organization linking more than 120 chapters and state organizations focused on the issues of children and youth with emotional, behavioral, or mental health needs and their families, offers National Certification for Parent Support Providers.

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