Peer support services are are a cost-effective, proven method for improving mental health outcomes. Peer support specialists empower those with mental health experiences to take charge of their own health and develop personal wellness plans. Moreover, academic studies unequivocally indicate that peer services improve consumer life-satisfaction and decrease hospitalizations, among other positive results.
Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services (PEERS) stands with other consumer-run mental health organizations, including the Pool of Consumer Champions (POCC), the California Association of Mental Health Peer-Run Organizations (CAMHPRO), and the Alameda County Network of Mental Health Clients (ACNETMHC), in endorsing Senate Bill 906.
This legislation represents a meaningful step toward legitimizing the essential work done by peer support specialists. Mental health consumers deserve access to high-quality, humanizing, and empowering services and resources. California must follow the lead of other states in establishing a statewide peer services certification program.
California Senate Bill 906
In almost 40 U.S. states and the District of Columbia there are state-operated programs that accredit peer specialists and allow their services to be billed to Medicaid. Even the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a peer support certification. Yet, California does not currently have a program that licenses peer support specialists on a statewide level.
Senate Bill 906 enjoins the Department of Health Care Services to establish and regulate a certification program for peer specialists in the state. If signed into law by Governor Brown, SB906 would offer certification for many different types of peer support specialists. In addition, the bill delineates core competencies and areas of specialization for each of the distinct certification categories.
Want to publicly endorse this legislation? Write a letter to the Honorable Ed Hernandez, the chair of the California Senate Health Committee.
By Patrick Glass