The CNMI’s Disability Network Partners, otherwise known as the DNP, in collaboration with PeerLink National Technical Assistance Center, kicked off a two-week long certification training program for Peer Recovery Specialists on Tuesday.
The training is being conducted by Robyn Priest out of PeerLink Technical Assistance Center through a grant from the U.S. DHHS/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in support of SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiative for Recovery Support, which promote peer support and social inclusion of individuals with or in recovery from mental and substance use disorders in the community.
Participants in the training were vetted through an application process, requiring, among other things, that the “individual must be willing to publicly identify as a person living with a mental illness, or substance abuse history in order to model the reality of recovery and wellness.”
“At a very basic level, as I understand it, the idea is that people with ‘lived experience’ are better able to empathize with those who may be new to the recovery process and therefore provide a unique, more relatable level of support,” said NMPASI executive director Jim Rayphand.
The program includes among its values that, “Telling our stories is the beginning of recovery and wellness. While honoring the peer’s perspective at its core, we seek to create an open, accepting place that is collaborative, respectful, and gives hope for the future.”
“Peer support is a system of giving and receiving help founded on key principles of respect, shared responsibility, and mutual agreement of what is helpful. Peer support is not based on psychiatric models and diagnostic criteria. It is about understanding another’s situation emphatically through the shared experience of emotional and psychological pain” (Mead, Hilton & Curtis, 2001).
For more information on the WRAP training and/or Peer Support Worker training, contact any of the DNP partners including, but not limited to the Northern Marianas Protection & Advocacy Systems, inc. at (670) 235-7273/4 or at www.nmpasi.org; or the Council on Developmental Disabilities at (670) 664-7000; University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at 234-3690. (PR)