Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Training

This 80-hour virtual, live training fulfills the state’s training requirement for Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification. Said differently, NAMI San Diego & Imperial Counties is a CalMHSA-approved training provider.

Our training is the first step of CalMHSA’s three step process to become certified as a Peer Support Specialist in California. The second step is to apply to become a Certified Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist and submit our certificate of completion to CalMHSA. The final step is to complete and pass the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist State exam. More information about the certification process can be found through the CalMHSA (California Mental Health Services Authority) certification website: capeercertification.org

About the Training

Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Training is an online, 80-hour state training offered by NAMI San Diego and Imperial Counties and approved by CalMHSA, meeting the training requirements for peer certification in California.

This training is devoted to providing individuals peer to peer education and support to those who self-identify as having experience with the process of recovery from a mental illness or substance use disorder, either as a consumer of these services or as the parent, caregiver, or family member of a consumer with a mental health condition. This training, as well as certification, serves as a pathway to employment/volunteer positions within the public mental health system, after subsequently taking and passing the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification exam.

Those who complete the 80-hour training will receive a certificate of completion to submit in their CalMHSA certification application, which will then enable individuals to sit for the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification Exam. 

Details

Eligibility

What are the Training Details?

Who is eligible for the training?

If all the following are true, you are tentatively eligible to apply for training (check full eligibility by visiting specific training websites in the “Training Dates” section): 

  • 13 sessions – live attendance required (virtual).
  • Location: Online (through Zoom)
  • Days: 2.5 weeks, typically Mondays-Fridays
  • Time: typically, 4 hours per day
  • Of note: Participants should also plan for self-study time and homework.
  • Cost? Free
  • 18 years of age or older.
  • Possess a high school diploma/equivalent (or higher) degree.
  • Live with a mental health and/or substance use condition; or as the parent, caregiver, or family member – support a loved one living with these conditions.
  • Be willing to share your experience.
  • Have a strong dedication to recovery.
  • Have access and ability to utilize computer, laptop, and internet connection with which you can see, hear, and speak

When is the training offered?

  • We provide trainings in partnership with NAMI California. Please visit this website to learn about and register for upcoming trainings: https://namisandiego.org/pssc/
  • We are also offering our training in partnership with San Diego Workforce Partnership. Please visit their website to register for our class: https://workforce.org/peersupport/
  • Additional classes may be added; please check this webpage regularly for updates!

What topics are covered in the training?

Participants learn behavioral health skills covering the 17 Peer Specialist core competencies as
identified by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).

Topics covered include:

  • Recovery Model
  • Communication Skills
  • Trauma-Informed Care
  • Cultural Competency
  • Medi-Cal Code of Ethics and more!

Click HERE to view the full list of 17 core competencies

Where can I learn more about state certification?

The CalMHSA Certification website (capeercertification.org) is the best place to find more information about the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification process, requirements, qualifications, and application info. That website is also where you will start your certification application if you have not started already.

Application Instructions for the Initial Certification Process can be found HERE.

Certification Requirements can be found HERE.

What is the process to join the training?

We have two different options:

  • We provide trainings in partnership with NAMI California, which is also a State-approved CalMHSA trainer. In addition to providing the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist training, our team conducts recruitment, and we support individuals with finding a volunteer/job placement after successful completion of our training. Please visit this website to learn about this program and register for upcoming trainings: https://namisandiego.org/pssc/
  • We offer our training through a program with San Diego Workforce Partnership, where NAMI San Diego & Imperial Counties provides the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist training and San Diego Workforce Partnership conducts recruitment, supports with application fees for State Certification and supports with job/volunteer placement after successful completion of our training. Please visit their website to learn more about this program and register for our training: https://workforce.org/peersupport/

Shannon Switzer, Lead Trainer
Certified Peer Support Specialist

Shannon is our Lead Trainer and is a Certified Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist. She has been providing Peer/Family Support Specialist trainings with NAMI San Diego & Imperial Counties since 2021. Furthermore, she has worked in the field as a Peer Support Specialist and Lead Peer Support Specialist, where she successfully supported and provided resources to individuals who had a recent hospitalization at San Diego County’s Mental Health Hospital or visit to their Emergency Psychiatric Unit. Due to this experience, Shannon has a deep understanding of the knowledge and skills needed to succeed as a peer support specialist.

Bibiana Fernandez, Trainer
Peer Support Specialist

Bibianna is our Trainer and has been a Peer Support Specialist for fifteen years. She has lived experience with Mental Health challenges. She has co-facilitated support groups with NAMI San Diego and Imperial Counties for family members who have a loved one living with mental health and substance use conditions. She has broad experience in Motivational/Public Speaking since 2012. She has served as a crisis counselor in sexual assault and mental health crises. Bibiana is also a Domestic Violence counselor and group facilitator. She has cultivated relationships with community groups and organizations and acted as a liaison with community agencies and County agencies in Imperial Valley.

Jim Hurtado, Support Trainer
Certified Peer Support Specialist

Jim is our Support Trainer and is a Certified Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist. He grew up under the sunshine of Southern California and has had the opportunity of traveling and teaching abroad. Traveling has been one of his most significant opportunities in learning empathy in life. He has lived experience with Mental Health challenges; it has been a long road to get to where he is today, in a much better place. Jim’s previous work was working with people on their recovery journey, which has evolved into what we now refer to as a Peer Support Specialist.

Brianna Castro, Support Trainer
Certified Peer Support Specialist

Brianna is our Support Trainer a is Certified Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist. She has provided Peer/Family Support Specialist training with NAMI San Diego & Imperial Counties since January 2021. Also, she is a Certified NAMI Connection Facilitator who co-facilitates the Connection Support Groups for Peers living with mental health and substance use conditions, providing support, relatability, validation, and hope to those who participate. Because of these experiences, Brianna understands what it takes, and the skills needed to become a Peer Support Specialist.

For further questions, please contact: : PeerTraining@namisd.org