Who can be a Peer Recovery Support Specialist (PRSS)?
The minimum qualifications to be credentialed as an PRSS are:
- Have demonstrated recovery from a mental illness, substance abuse disorder or both.
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Be willing to self disclose about their own recovery
- Be employed by or volunteer with the state, a behavioral service provider or an advocacy agency contracting with the state to provide behavioral health services.
- Possess good moral character.
- Not be engaged in any practice or conduct which would be grounds for denying, revoking or suspending a certification.
- Agree to respect and observe the PRSS Code of Ethics which must be signed and mailed with their Application Inventory Form to ODMHSAS before being assigned to a training.
- Pass an examination based on standards promulgated by ODMHSAS after completing the training.
How do I know if I am in recovery?
William Anthony, Director of the Boston Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, has developed the cornerstone definition of mental health recovery. According to Anthony (1993) recovery is " a deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitudes, values, feelings, goals, skills and/or roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful, and contributing life even with limitations caused by the illness. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness."
What do Peer Recovery Support Specialists do?
A PRSS works in collaboration with the people we serve as well as clinical staff to the best interests of the individual’s recovery process. There are many positive roles that an PRSS can fulfill in the organization based on their individual skills. Recovery Support Specialists offer the advantage of lived experience from mental illness and/or substance abuse. They know the journey to recovery is real and attainable.
Being a PRSS is something that I think I want to do, what now?
As a result of meeting the minimum requirements that are listed above, one must complete the Application process and once you receive an Acceptance Letter, you must then be willing to attend the 5 day, 40-hour PRSS Training Program and respect the PRSS Code of Ethics. If you have not received an Acceptance Letter, you will not be allowed to attend the training. Upon successful completion of the training program, the PRSS applicant must pass a competency exam to demonstrate an understanding of the program in order to earn the "Peer Recovery Support Specialist” Certification. Training, testing, and the certification are under the auspices of the Mental Health Recovery Division of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS).
What does the training cost?
The PRSS training is free. You will be expected to provide your own lunch each day and any lodging that you may require.
How do I know I have been accepted to attend the training?
You will receive a letter stated that you have been accepted to attend the training. If you provide an email address your letter will come via email otherwise the letter will be sent to your home address. Your letter will provide the dates of the training and a map of the training facility.
What if I do not get accepted to attend the training?
If you receive a letter stating that you have not been accepted to attend the training and you feel you have received this letter in error. You may resubmit your application along with the missing information or a clarification of the information that we have indicated is missing or that may have been misunderstood.
What can I expect to learn from attending the PRSS training?
The Peer Recovery Support Specialist Certification Training Program will give the participants a full introduction to the following competencies:
1. An understanding of the skills to provide recovery support to their peers.
a. Understand possible PRSS job activities (which vary based on where you are employed).
b. A clear understanding of the PRSS Code of Ethics.
c. Understand the meaning of peer support and the role of Peer Recovery Support Specialist Certification including an understanding of dual relationships. Understand the difference in treatment goals and recovery goals and promote recovery goals and personal life goals.
d. Be able to facilitate a variety of activities that support and strengthen recovery including starting and maintaining self-help/mutual support groups.
e. Be able to help problem-solve and help a person learn to self advocate, the meaning of self determination, teach others to advocate for the services that they want and to use naturally occurring community supports.
f. Be able to help a person served articulate, set and accomplish his/her personal life goals.
g. Be able to assist in the facilitation of recovery plans and plans of action, i.e. WRAP, Psychiatric Advanced Directives, etc.
2. An understanding of the recovery process and how to use their own recovery story to help others.
a. Understand the recovery process and what is helpful and not helpful.
b. Understand the role of peer support in the recovery process.
c. Understand the power of beliefs/values and how they support or work against recovery.
d. Understand the basic definition and dynamics of empowerment and self-directed recovery.
e. Be able to articulate what has been helpful and what is not helpful in his/her own recovery in services and interventions.
f. Be able to use their recovery story as it relates to the peer relationship as well as the needs of the mental health system in the provision of services.
3. An understanding of and the ability to establish healing relationships.
a. Understand the meaning and importance of cultural competency and spirituality in the recovery environment.
b. Be able to interact thoughtfully and successfully with people of other cultures and belief systems.
c. Be able to personally cope with conflict and difficult interpersonal relations in the workplace.
d. Be able to identify ways to help make the environment more recovery oriented and comforting to the people served.
4. An understanding of the importance of and the ability to take care of oneself.
a. Understand the dynamics of stress and compassion fatigue.
b. Be able and willing to discuss his/her own tools for taking care of him/herself.
I heard there was a test. What should I expect?
After completion of the 5 day training, all participants will be expected to take and pass the test. The test will take place anywhere from two weeks to a month following the training. Participants must attend all the modules in order to test. The test is pass or retake. If it is determined that you must retake the exam, you will be offered tutoring and a review. The test is a combination of true/false, multiple choice and essay questions. It is reasonable to expect that there will be some application questions on the exam.
What do I do to stay credentialed?
Each year all PRSS's are required to have twelve (12) hours of continuing education units (CEU), three (3) of these hours must be in Ethics. To maintain your status as a Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist you should complete the on-line Renewal Process. You may be randomly selected to provide documentation of attendance. It is the responsibility of each individual to maintain their own CEU documentation and to turn it in by the due date each calendar year. The cut off date for turning in your continuing education credits each year is December 31 at 5:00 p.m.
Where can I find classes for Continuing Education Units?
CEU Opportunities are listed here.
How do I change my information in the PRSS Database?
Please use your user name and password to access your account and you can update the information yourself. New Recovery Support Specialist On-Line Database
How do I get a replacement Certificate?
- Applicants may send a request by email to Ramona Webster or Ronda Trumbly requesting a replacement Certificate. Ronda or Ramona will email an electronic copy of your certificate that you can print out.
- If you need an original certificate on brown/green paper, you must indicate so in writing to PRSS along with the replacement fee ($10.00) to Attn: PRSS, P.O. Box 53277,
Oklahoma City, OK 73152-3277 via U.S. Mail.
- There is a required replacement fee of $10.00 for an "original" certificate that is lost, damaged or in need of revision. This fee can be paid by check or money order.
Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
1200 NE 13th Street
PO Box 53277
Oklahoma City, OK 73152-3277
405-522-3908 405-522-3851 TDD 405-522-3650 Fax
Toll-Free, 24 Hours 1-800-522-9054
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Last updated 11/29/2012