The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is proudly supporting Senate Bill 10 by Senator Jim Beall. This bill would provide $10M to create a state certification program for peer counseling—48 other states have already implemented their certification programs.
A peer provider is a person who draws on lived experience with mental illness and/or substance use disorder and recovery, bolstered by specialized training, to deliver valuable support services in a mental health and/or substance use setting. Across the nation, peer support programs have emerged as an evidence-based practice with proven benefits to both peers and the clients they assist. Peers can include people who have lived experience as clients, family members, or caretakers of individuals living with mental illness.
SB 10, the Peer Provider Certification Act of 2019 has two primary goals: First, it requires the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to establish a certification program for peer providers with four distinct certification categories: peer, parent, transition-age, and family support specialist. Among other things, the program defines the range of responsibilities and practice guidelines for peer support specialists, specifies required training and continuing education requirements, determines clinical supervision requirements, and establishes a code of ethics and processes for revocation of certification. Second, the bill expresses the intent of the Legislature that the program will provide increased family support, a fuller continuum of wraparound services, and an individualized focus on clients to promote recovery and self-sufficiency.
Peer support is one additional arrow in the quiver in fighting homelessness, and particularly by helping those resistant to getting help. Being able to certify peer counselors will strengthen this effort. Studies demonstrate that use of peer support specialists in a comprehensive mental health or substance disorder treatment program helps reduce client hospitalizations, improve client functioning, increase client satisfaction, alleviate depression and other symptoms, and diversify the mental health workforce.