Peer Support

Who Are Peers?

  • Peers are individuals who use their lived experience and formal training to promote the recovery of others.
  • A peer can also use their experiential knowledge of mental health recovery to inform and improve research design and investigation

Do Peers Have Training?

In Alabama, peers are trained and certified through the Alabama Department of Mental Health, Office of Peer Programs. Certification requires a 40 hour training program and passing of the certification test. Continuing education is also required.

Where Do Peers Work?

Peers work in many settings including mental health rehabilitation, therapeutic recreation/socialization, transition from inpatient, crisis stabilization and vocational rehabilitation programs

What Do Peers Do?

Whole health, resiliency & an example of recovery

Connecting to resources and networking

Advocacy & systems navigation

Goal setting, coping skills & self-direction

Action Planning for Prevention & Recovery, Peer Support Groups & Warm Line

Recovery dialogues & support groups

Does Peer Support Work?

Research suggests peer support services…

  • Reduce inpatient service use 
  • Improve relationships with providers 
  • Increase empowerment, hope, and social relations 
  • Improve patient activation 
  • Reduce length of stay and crisis and emergency service use 
  • Enhance personal recovery and perceived recovery orientation of providers for people receiving peer support

Training Programs

ADMH Office of Peer Programs, provides the Alabama Certified Peer Specialist Training Program (for individuals in recovery from mental illness).  They also coordinate the Certified Recovery Support Specialist Training Program (for individuals in recovery from substance use disorders.)

 Types of Certifications Available to Peers in Recovery from Mental Illness:

• Certified Mental Health Youth Peer Specialist (CMHYPS)

What is a Youth Peer Specialist?   

A mental health peer who has personal mental health experience from their own youth  or adolescence, who is willing to share their personal experiences. (Must complete certification process)

 • Certified Mental Health Adult Peer Specialist (CMHAPS)

What is an Adult Peer Support Specialist?

A mental health peer over age 18, in recovery who has lived experience with mental illness and willing to share their lived experience.  (Must complete certification process)

• Mental Health Parent Peer Support Specialist (MHPPS)

What is a Parent Peer Support Specialist?

 Mental Health Parent Peer Support Specialist is a provider who is parenting or has parented a child experiencing mental, emotional or behavioral health disorders and can articulate the understanding of their experience with another parent or family member. This individual may be a birth parent, adoptive parent, family member standing in for an absent parent, or other person chosen by the family or youth to have the role of parent. 

Types of Certifications Available to Peers in Recovery from Mental Illness and/or Substance Abuse:

Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS) certification 

What is a Certified Recovery Support Specialist?
A person living in recovery with a substance use disorder working within an agency or organization who has been trained and certified by the Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH) to use their personal recovery story to assist others in developing their personal plan for recovery.

For more on how to get certified visit this link:

Or Contact ADMH Office of Peer Programs at:

Michael B. Autrey, Director
Deborah Pennington, Certified Peer Specialist
Nick Snead, Certified Peer Specialist II

1-800-832-0952 Toll Free
334-242-3456 Montgomery Area
334-242-0796 Fax

 Or Contact WIngs Across Alabama at:

Dalana W. Brooks, MA, CPS 
Program Director Wings Across Alabama
(251) 244-8339 

Together. We Thrive