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Description (908 KAR 2:220): Peer support is the social and emotional support provided by persons with a mental health condition to others sharing a similar mental health condition to bring about a desired social or personal change. A Peer Specialist guides clients toward the identification and achievement of specific goals defined by the client and specified in the treatment plan. The job of a Kentucky Peer Specialist (KPS) is not to replace current clinical mental health staff but to offer additional and/or alternative options to help people in their efforts to recover. 

Kentucky Adult Peer Support Specialist Qualifications:

 Eighteen (18) years of age or older
 Have a current or past diagnosis of a mental health, substance use, or co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders
 Have received or been receiving treatment
 Have a minimum educational requirement of a high school diploma or General Equivalence Diploma (GED) certificate
 Demonstrate a pattern of recovery from a mental health, substance use, or co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders
 Successfully complete a state-approved adult peer support specialist training

*Having a criminal record is not relevant to this training.*


An Adult Peer Support Specialist shall:

  1. Use relevant personal stories to assist other consumers through experience
  2. Serve as a role model to consumers
  3. Encourage consumer voice and choice during development and implementation of plans
  4. Support a consumer by:
    a. Attending team meetings on behalf of or at the request of the consumer or
    b. Accompanying the consumer to meetings upon the consumer’s request
  5. Empower a consumer to have the confidence to be a self-advocate
  6. Help providers or other individuals understand the importance of integrating consumer voice and choice in services and support within a system of care
  7. Promote socialization, recovery, self-advocacy preservation, and enhancement of community living skills for consumers
  8. Complete and maintain documentation of a minimum of six (6) hours of related training or education in each subsequent year after successful completion of the adult peer support specialist training


Our next training will be held the week of X,2020 from 9:00am-4:30pm at a location TBA.
The deadline for applications is X. 

Mental Health America of Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio’s Kentucky Adult Peer Support Specialist training is a 40-hour course provided over five consecutive days. In attending the training, participants will:

  • Gain new knowledge and understanding of the stages and principles of the recovery process, the shift from maintenance to recovery, behavioral health, spiritual and cultural awareness, trauma-informed services, the Wellness Recovery Action Plan, self-care, and much more.
  • Develop new skills to assist in effective listening and communication, problem solving, exploring dissatisfaction and fears, establishing goals, combating negative messages/self-talk, suicide prevention, developing and sticking to ethical boundaries, and more.
  • Increase personal awareness
  • Enhance personal recovery

Please note that certification with the State of Kentucky does not carry over into Ohio. Qualification for certification includes successfully completing both a written and oral exam upon completion of the course with an aggregate score of at least 70%. If you do not pass the exam, you may re-take it up to two times within a year from the training. Absences are required to be made-up in future trainings within six months. You will be unable to take the certification exam until you have made-up the hours of curriculum instruction that were missed.

Two letters of recommendation are required to be considered for the training. These references should come from members of your treatment team (i.e. healthcare provider, psychiatrist, therapist, group leader, employer if applicable). If you are recovering from a mental illness, a reference from a psychiatrist or therapist is recommended. If you are recovering from a substance use disorder, a reference from a sponsor is recommended. You are responsible for giving the attached personal reference forms to the individuals speaking on your behalf.

The cost of the training, which includes: registration, training manual, lunch for the week, written/oral exams, and certification with the State of Kentucky, will be FREE to all participants. Training costs are underwritten by the HRSA OWEP Grant Number: T97HP33392.

Personal Reference Forms

Download the Personal Reference Forms and follow the instructions to have your references mail the forms to:

Mental Health America of Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio
Attn: Kara Atwell
912 Scott Blvd. Covington, KY 41011