Overview

The North Carolina Certified Peer Support Specialist (NCCPSS) Program is an initiative of the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Use Services. The NCCPSS Program certifies persons in recovery from serious mental illness (SMI) and substance use disorders (SUD) to become Certified Peer Support Specialists (CPSS). The NCCPSS Program is housed in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) in the Behavioral Health Springboard (BHS). BHS implements the certification, courses, stakeholder engagement, and evaluation of the NCCPSS Program, among many other projects.

Who is a Peer Support Specialist?

Peer Support Specialists are people in recovery from a mental illness and/or substance use disorder and provide support to others who can benefit from their experiences. The North Carolina Certified Peer Support Specialist Program acknowledges that the peer has met a set of requirements necessary to support individuals with mental health or substance use disorder.

Vision for NCCPSS Program

To develop a qualified Peer Support Specialist workforce with the support, access, credibility, competency, respect, and valued role within the mental health and substance use disorder service delivery system to positively impact the lives of individuals experiencing mental health and addiction challenges. This is accomplished through the NC Certified Peer Support Specialist Program.

Mission of the NCCPSS Program

This NCCPSS Program does the following:

  • Help prepare peer specialists for work in the North Carolina mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) service system.
  • Issue a certificate showing the person has completed approved training and met the application criteria.

This program does not:

  • Certify anything other than that the person has satisfactorily completed approved training.
  • Guarantee the individual's job qualifications or employment skills.

The employer agency where the peer specialist works is responsible for hiring, supervision, performance reviews, and ensuring the peer specialist can perform the essential functions of that job, just like other positions.