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TDMHSAS Premieres Certified Peer Recovery Specialist Video Series

Web-based video project captures stories of 14 people putting lived experience to work
Thursday, December 05, 2019 | 08:51am

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is proud to unveil a new web-based video series profiling the stories of 14 Tennesseans who are Certified Peer Recovery Specialists (CPRS).

The CPRS program trains individuals with lived experience of mental illness, substance use, or co-occurring disorder to use their past history and journey to recovery to benefit others.  The certification includes 40 hours of classroom training over one week, 75 hours of supervised peer to peer work, and three references.

Watch the videos at this link: http://tn.gov/behavioral-health/cprs-stories 

Since the CPRS program began in Tennessee in 2007, 1,160 individuals have received certification.  Currently, Tennessee has 527 people who maintain their certification through continuing education hours.  The 14 certified peers featured in the video series are employed in various facets of the mental health and substance use treatment and recovery continuum from peer support centers to crisis services and even managed care organizations.

“With the population of Tennesseans we are called to serve, we have to meet them where they are in order to begin the journey to recovery, and there’s no one better than a peer to engage in that work and ensure that systems and programs are relevant and effective,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW.  “Certified Peer Recovery Specialists are at the heart of so many of our innovative and impactful programs from our hospitals to the community, and their experience is truly making a better day for Tennesseans who need help on their journey.”

The department and its community-based behavioral health providers employ the services of CPRS in many programs including: Peer Support Centers, Peer Recovery Call Center, Crisis Stabilization Units, crisis lines, Tennessee REDLINE, Project Lifeline, Regional Faith-Based Community Coordinators, TN Recovery Navigators, Regional Overdose Prevention Specialists, Recovery Courts, and Regional Mental Health institutes.

The video project also highlights the stories of several people who use their certification in healthcare working for managed care organizations and insurance companies.

“What we’re seeing in the behavioral health field is an increased value placed on peer experience.  Healthcare leaders are realizing that peers are a benefit to the bottom line because of the improved outcomes they can produce thanks to their lived-experience,” said Lisa Ragan, MSSW, Director of Consumer Affairs and Peer Recovery Services.

Due to the demand for the certification, the department has shifted additional funding to double the number of peers trained this fiscal year bringing it to a total of 400.  To learn more about the CPRS program in Tennessee, visit this link.