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Peer support

Peer support is a critical component of recovery-oriented behavioral health services in King County. It includes the sharing of “lived experience” to help people achieve and maintain long-term recovery from mental health, trauma, and addiction challenges.  Evidence shows that peer support improves the quality of life for individuals and their families.

Peer supporters are specially trained to provide peer support and may have different titles and specialties.

  • Certified Peer Counselors are certified by WA state and provide recovery support to individuals (adults and youth) participating in Medicaid funded mental health services.
  • Parent Partners are certified by WA State to provide recovery support services to parents and guardians of children participating in Medicaid funded mental health services.
  • Peer Recovery Coaches are specially trained to help individuals with substance use issues clarify goals, access resources, and increase their life satisfaction.

Certification

Current Medicaid funding rules in WA State limit training and certification to individuals in recovery from mental health challenges and parents and legal guardians of children living with mental health issues.

The peer counselor certification process is overseen by WA State’s Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery.  The process includes four steps. 

  1. Take the online prerequisite Certified Peer Counseling course.
  2. Complete and submit the state’s Certified Peer Counselor application with a copy of the prerequisite training course certificate.
  3. Once qualification has been established, attend a five-day training approved by the state.  Due to high demand, there is often a waiting list for these trainings.
  4. Pass the state’s Certified Peer Counselor training test.

For more information about qualifications, the certification process, and credentialing for employment visit the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery’s Peer Support website.

Similar information is also available at the Washington State Behavioral Health Learning Collaborative website.

Core values of peer support

Peer supporters across the country have endorsed 12 core ethical values for peer support practice. 

  1. Peer support is voluntary
  2. Peer supporters are hopeful
  3. Peer supports are open minded
  4. Peer supporters are empathetic
  5. Peer supports are respectful
  6. Peer supporters facilitate change
  7. Peer supporters are honest and direct
  8. Peer support is mutual and reciprocal
  9. Peer support is equally shared power
  10. Peer support is strengths-focused
  11. Peer support is transparent
  12. Peer support is person-driven

Read about King County BHO Practice Protocols for Peer Support

Contact Us

Phone 206-263-9000

TTY Relay: 711

Fax: 206-296-0583