The commissoner on Peer support

Tennessee is getting ready to hold its first peer specialist conference in October.  The  hardest thing for many who have tried to get the idea of peer support as an integral part of the mental health system across with providers and those in power.  The following letter from mental health commissioner Doug Varney is a major big step in Tennessee.  Thank you so much Commissioner Varney.


>>> Doug Varney 9/8/2011 3:02 PM >>>

As you may know, the Consumer Advisory Board has partnered with the Tennessee Certified Peer Specialist Advisory Committee to present the inaugural statewide Peer Specialist Conference on October 10, 2011. I wanted to encourage you to send representatives from your organization to the conference.
The Tennessee mental health system has come a long way in its support and understanding of the work Peer Specialists do throughout the state. As you know from your agency, Peer Specialists bring the uniqueness of their own lived experience with mental illness as they share their strengths, experiences, and hope with others. This conference is an invaluable opportunity for people who are interested in becoming Peer Specialists to learn more about it and for people who are already certified to continue their training and connect with one another.
The Peer Specialist Conference will also address an area that has not been addressed adequately thus far: the supervision of peer specialists. We have a growing workforce of Peer Specialists throughout the state delivering a unique service that requires trained supervisors educated on the nuances of Peer Specialist employees.
The Conference will include sessions specifically for supervisors, including how to address ADA accommodations, the differences between peer support and clinical services, and a Q&A panel of Peer Specialist Supervisors.
Please join me in supporting the Peer Specialist Conference and this growing workforce in Tennessee. For more information about the conference, see the attached.
Doug Varney
E Douglas Varney
Commissioner of Mental Health

5 thoughts on “The commissoner on Peer support”

  1. GOD BLESS YOU! We seem to be on a similar trajectory where gaining acceptance is concerned.

    I work with Attentional Spectrum Disorders (& comorbids), am one of the founders of the ADD Coaching field, and the developer of the world’s first ADD-specific coach curriculum (alone in that endeavor for many years, and currently on hiatus).

    While Attentional Spectrum deficits are primarily neurological, not psychological at base (so not technically a “mental illness” as defined today), Brain-based Coaching has proven to be invaluable as “assistive technology” for those with Executive Functioning disorders anywhere on the continuum, and has been surprisingly effective with mood regulation (regardless of presenting diagnosis) — allowing clients to move forward to ever higher functioning, regardless of medication-response status, coaches working in tandem with therapists and doctors.

    I believe that Peer Coaching (“check in” accountability, peer to peer) will prove particularly valuable in today’s economic climate, allowing for more frequent contact than an individual could afford otherwise. In addition to writing a book about Peer Coaching Technique, I am in the early stages of putting together a virtual Peer Coaching Center. My second Beta class is slated to begin in October.

    I would be interested in networking with you, and in an interview for inclusion in my book. You can research my knowledge-base, etc. on my main blog, ADDasmm (below) and can contact me through the e-me form, which comes directly to me personally. I will then contact you directly.
    mgh (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, SCAC, MCC – blogging at ADDandSoMuchMore and ADDerWorld – dot com!)

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