PEERS Perspectives is a blog series that offers thoughts and reflections from our staff and community members on mental health, current events, and the ways they affect our lives.

Today’s post on Mental Health perspective is written by Program Evaluation Specialist Sarah Marxer

A Victory for Peer Support

Peers in California achieved a major victory on September 25, 2020, when Governor Newsom signed SB 803 into law. With that signature, California joined the majority of states in establishing a peer support specialist certification program for behavioral health services. Now, counties that choose to provide peer support services can add those services as a Medi-Cal covered benefit.

This success was the result of a years-long organizing and advocacy effort. Many in our community participated by attending and speaking at hearings in the legislature, writing postcards and letters, making calls, and advocating on social media. Congratulations to all!

PEERS wants to recognize the steadfast leadership of the California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations (CAMHPRO) and Sally Zinman, CAMHPRO’s executive director. Without Sally Zinman and CAMHPRO, we would not have peer support specialist certification in California.

We are especially grateful to Senator Jim Beall, who authored the legislation and championed peer support specialist certification over the years. Thank you, too, to Governor Newsom for signing the bill this year. 
To watch the historic moment, go to this video of the signing. Governor Gavin Newsom signs SB803 at about 27 minutes into the video.