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TDMHSAS Expands Peer Recovery Certification Programs with New Offering for Young Adults

New certification focuses on people age 18-30 in recovery
Wednesday, May 26, 2021 | 07:52am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is releasing a new certification for peer support specialists designed specifically for young adults with lived experience of mental health and/or substance use challenges.

The Certified Young Adult Peer Support Specialist (CYAPSS) program is tailored to young adults in both design and language with a target age range of 18 to 30 and a requirement of one year in recovery.  The program was developed in collaboration with Youth Era and with significant input from and review by the department’s Young Adult Leadership Council.

The CYAPSS program includes a one week, 40-hour training session covering topics including responsibilities and expectations of a CYAPSS, strategic sharing, youth empowerment, positive youth development, the ladder of youth voice, and trauma-informed care.  Through this training, CYAPSS will gain the knowledge needed to provide youth and young adult-friendly peer support services to people under the age of 30. Peers certified through the program are also required to complete service hours and continuing education to maintain their certification.

“Different people experience life in different ways, and that’s certainly true across age ranges.  Younger millennials and Gen Z experience and discuss and live their mental health challenges differently and more openly than any generation before them.  There’s never been a better time to start a young adult peer certification program because there’s never been a generation more in touch with their mental health needs and those of their peers than this generation of young people,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW.  “We’re so excited to see how this program is going to influence and improve our service delivery system in Tennessee for decades to come.”

The CYAPSS program joins the department’s current offerings in peer certification: Certified Peer Recovery Specialist and Certified Family Support Specialist.

“Peer support certifications like this provide a foundational training through which peers can put their lived experience to good use in service of helping others,” said TDMHSAS Deputy Commissioner Matt Yancey, LCSW.  “For us, this is a form of workforce development which creates a pipeline and gets peers on a path to employment at mental health centers, crisis providers, substance use treatment centers, hospitals, insurance companies, and any other setting that needs the peer-to-peer relationship to support its members.”

To learn more about the CYAPSS program and Peer Recovery Services in Tennessee, visit this link: TN.gov/behavioral-health/mental-health-services/peers