New Certification for Peer Specialists

Our NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group will meet weekly on Tuesday evenings through December 18. This is a free, peer support group for adults living with mental illness, run and led by NAMI-trained facilitators. You will gain insight from hearing the challenges and successes of others in a confidential setting. By sharing your experiences, you can gain hope and you can develop relationships with a group dedicated to productive discussion. The group encourages empathy and fosters a sense of community. To sign up and for more information, including the location and time of our meetings, please contact Hannah Cooper (215) 806-6178 or Danielle Sulpizio (484) 880-0660.

Our Parent Peer Support Group meets on Wednesday nights from 6:45-8:15 p.m. for parents with a middle or high school child who is challenged with mental health symptoms.  Please note that this group will not meet on December 26.  The peer support group is designed to be a safe, confidential place to share your experiences and learn from others. The group is facilitated by Nancy Dever and Debbie Gillespie and will be held at Wayne Presbyterian Church, Room 207, 125 E. Lancaster Ave, Wayne. For questions or to RSVP, contact Nancy Dever at or call 610-574-3319.

Certified Peer Specialists Recognized with Full Certification Process

To more formally recognize the value of peers in the workforce, Pennsylvania is moving to a new full peer certification offered by the Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB). This new formal certification will be necessary to provide Medicaid billable peer support services.
To make this transition as easy as possible for current Pennsylvania Peer Specialists, there will be a time-limited grandparenting process for those who wish to obtain the new full certification during the grandparenting period (March 1, 2018 – August 31, 2019).

The requirements for the grandparenting process must be met but no additional exam will be required.  Requirements include:

  • You must have completed the two-week peer specialist training from one of the recognized training vendors.  Those two vendors are the Institute for Recovery and RI Consulting.
  • Complete the CPS Grandparenting Application and sign and date a Peer-specific code of ethical conduct.
  • Signed and notarized release form.
There is no initial cost to peers for obtaining the credential as the grandparenting fee is being underwritten by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Human Services, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS).

This new formal certification through the PCB is designed to help strengthen the profession and give CPSs a stronger voice, while maintaining the essence of peer support in delivering recovery oriented services. We urge you to complete the process now, during the grandparenting period, to ensure you can continue to do the great work that you do.

The CPS Grandparenting Application can be found by clicking here.  Please see for more information or contact 717-540-4455 or

Upcoming Events 

Mental Health America’s Regional Policy Council (RPC) will host a webinar called “Safety Not Stigma: Reframing the Way We Talk about Guns and Violence” on Wednesday, December 12, at 2:00 p.m. Media coverage of gun violence often misrepresents the linkage to mental illness in ways that contribute to stigma against those living with mental illnesses. Emerging practices and policies are creating a different reality “on that ground,” one that has the potential to unite – not divide – the mental health community and the gun-owning community. This webinar will explore the following – guns and suicide: the real intersection of gun violence and mental illness; partnering with the gun-owning community to promote safety; and public policy that reduces suicide by firearms while respecting rights of responsible gun owners. To register, go to

Mental Health Partnerships will have their Adult Daughters, Sons and Siblings Educational Support Group (for adults who have/had a parent or sibling with a mental health disorder), beginning with a discussion about What Lessons Have You Learned this Year? on Tuesday, December 18, from 7-9 p.m. at Belmont Behavioral Hospital.  No fee. Registration is preferred, but not required. Contact or 267-507-3863.

Mental Health Partnerships will have their Morning Family & Friends Educational Support Group (for families and friends of adults with any mental health or substance use condition), beginning with a discussion on Lessons Learned this Year? on Thursday, December 20, from 10 a.m. – noon in Center City (1211 Chestnut Street, 11th Floor). No fee. Registration is preferred, but not required. Contact or 267-507-3863.

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