Maine Behavioral Healthcare (MBH) defines “Peer” as a person who has personally experienced challenges maintaining mental health, which may include recovery from substance use. A Peer Support Specialist is willing to self-identify on that basis and effectively shares about their personal lived experience in a way that fosters a healthy relationship, centered on each person exploring wellness, challenges, and new ways of thinking about life and challenges. It is required that a person has experienced mental health challenges as part of their life story to be employed as a Peer Support Specialist
Peer Support Specialists provide one-on-one support to people in the community, at their homes, and/or at the location where the peer works. Peer Support Specialists also provide group facilitation in various topics related to the setting in which they work, including topics such as wellness, recovery, boundaries, self-esteem, healthy relationships, etc. Peer Support Specialists support people in connecting to wellness/recovery opportunities in the community and accessing other community support services when appropriate. Peer Support Specialists do not provide clinical assessment or traditional service provider functions within the team. Peer Support Specialists use peer support to build mutually supportive relationships that allow each person to grow and learn together. Peer Support Specialists are required to have or obtain a certification in Intentional Peer Support. Peer Support Specialists manage conflict and disagreements according to agency and peer values.
Required Minimum Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
- High school diploma or equivalent required; some college preferred
- Is receiving or has received services and/or supports related to the diagnosis of a mental illness and is willing to self-identify on this basis with peers and in the community. May be receiving or has received services and supports related to a history of substance use, is in active recovery, and willing to self-identify on this basis with peers and in the community
- Completion of, or ability to complete, the relevant training to the position is required. This may be the State of Maine Certified Intentional Peer Support Specialist (CIPSS) Certification. Provisional CIPSS Certification may be required within 9 months of hire date. If CIPSS is required, the ability to maintain certification will be required (meet co-reflection and continuing education requirements). Ability to provide support according to the values and principles of the training is required. Employment will be contingent on the above certification guidelines.
- Experience providing one-on-one and/or group facilitation peer support is preferred.
- Models strengths-based interactions and treats all individuals with respect. Demonstrates ability to utilize strengths-based approach to problem solving
- Ability to articulate the unique nature of Peer Support within traditional service programs
- Good communication skills and an ability to establish rapport with consumers, family members, caregivers and other resource providers. Willingness to further develop communication skills (i.e. written, verbal, and computer.)
- Demonstrated ability to keep focus on continual learning and growth is required
- Ability to work a flexible work schedule, including evenings and weekends when needed
- Computer proficiency needed - ability to do basic computer skills in Microsoft Office and Outlook email
- Ability to establish and maintain effective and positive working relationships with a variety of volunteers, fellow workers, communities, resources and cultures. Demonstrated ability to work independently and collaboratively
- Driving license and reliable transportation
Provide Peer Support
- Develop Peer Support relationships with clients of the program, which may be through one-on-one meetings and telephone conversations
- Facilitate structured groups and support groups for clients of the program, as determined by client interests, staff expertise, and program leadership
- Assist the team in providing comprehensive care.
- Serve as a link to natural supports and community resources
- Serve as a liaison to consumer resources and other programs
- Attend organization and community service team meetings at consumer and/or supervisor’s request
- Help carry out outreach and engagement activities
- Provide support to a required amount of people.
Effectively Practice Peer Support Model
- Manage conflict appropriately, within the team and with people in the program
- Provide education to the team about the tenants of the peer support model, as needed or ongoing.
- Directly encourage consumer voice
- Provide services to help individuals develop satisfying, hopeful and fulfilling lives in the community of their choice
- Promote recovery/wellness and resilience and work toward reducing the likelihood of future emergencies and produces better outcomes
- Model strength-based approaches and share experiences
- Model effective skills of recovery and/or wellness
- Model effective personal interactions and behavior
Meet documentation standards successfully
- Dependent on setting: Document all contact in the client record system in the timeframe required
- Document and refer potential and identified problems to the supervisor
- Develop, implement and input concise and clear consumer data into the Health Information System
- Complete timesheet, mileage, and other reimbursement documentation in a timely manner
Perform general employee functions successfully
- Navigate computer and technology responsibilities in a timely and efficient manner.
- Communicate appropriately and timely about schedule changes to supervisor and participants of the program.
- Participate in training as needed for the acquisition and enhancement of skills
- Achieve specific annual MBH goals negotiated with the direct supervisor each year
- Attend regular staff meetings
- Participate in regular supervision
- Comply with applicable MBH policies and licensing standards, with special attention to consumer confidentiality and HIPPA compliance of any direct or indirect service with consumers
- Other duties as assigned to assure the success of the program and the broader MBH organization