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Certified Peer Specialists

How mental health certified peer specialists help

Certified peer specialists are individuals who have a lived experience of mental illness and are trained to be direct service mental health staff. Minnesota has been offering this service since 2007.
Certified peer specialists offer support and hope to individuals who have experienced mental illness by sharing their story and helping them to discover their strengths. Certified peer specialists assist in reducing barriers to community resources, and they provide encouragement for involvement in community activities that support their goals and interests.

How to become a Certified Peer Specialist

In Minnesota, Northland Counseling Center coordinates the application process, trainings and maintains a website for individuals who are interested in learning more about peer services.
Certification is valid for two years. To retain certification, Peer Specialists must complete and provide documentation to DHS of 30 hours of continuing education in areas of mental health recovery, mental health rehabilitative services and peer support.

Find out more

To learn more about peer services or to apply for the training visit, or contact Judy Benham at or 218-910-6223.
Information for agencies
Agencies interested in employing Certified Peer Specialists, visit the DHS Certified Peer Support Specialist partners and providers page.

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