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.
E Douglas Varney
Commissioner of Mental Health