Training and Certification Information

Becoming a certified peer supporter in the state of Connecticut can be extremely rewarding. You will be required to fill out an application for the classes that are offered. Currently there are two trainings, one to become a Recovery Support Specialist and the other is a Peer Recovery Coach. The RSS course trains you to help those who live with mental health and addiction challenges. The PRC course focuses more toward the addiction end of the spectrum. Most people tend to apply for the training to work with those people that have similar lived experiences to themselves.

Once certified you will be required to take further trainings and classes to maintain that certification, different certifications have different continuing education requirements. Trainings for certification in First Aid and CPR may be required by an agency looking to hire certified peers as an addition to their workforce.

Training for Certification

Recovery Support Specialist training and certifications are offered through Advocacy Unlimited. This 80-hour training is designed for people with experience mental health challenges to use what they learned over their lives and share their stories with others. It is the only state-authorized training that can certify individuals as meeting the requirements to become a Certified Recovery Support Specialist.

A Recovery Support Specialists can work in both the mental health and addiction services system.
To learn more about becoming a RSS and the application process click HERE to visit Advocacy Unlimited’s site.

The Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network Recovery Support Specialist Training and Certification Program is an 80-hour course that prepares persons in recovery from a psychiatric or substance use disorder, or family members of people in recovery, to take an exam to become a certified Recovery Support Specialist (RSS).

Peer Recovery Coach – The lessons taught through the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery, better known as CCAR. The Recovery Coach Academy© will expand beyond the role of a recovery coach, as many graduates leave feeling a greater sense of self, solidifying their position as allies in the every changing recovery community. The training provides participants with a certificate of attendance, this certificate is not a certification.

A Recovery Coach can work with peers who are battling a substance use addiction. To learn more about becoming a Recovery Coach and the application process click HERE to visit CCAR’s site.

Connecticut Certification Board, Inc. – The CCB is an independent, non-governmental, 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization that offers certification for addiction counselors, clinical supervisors, and prevention professionals in Connecticut.

The Board has partnered with agencies such as the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), the Connecticut Association of Non-profits (CAN), the Connecticut Association of Addiction Professionals (CAAP) and the Methadone Directors of Connecticut to assure quality service for those affected by substance use and mental health disorders and the social challenges that those in recovery from these disorders face as they rebuild their lives.

Certification Renewal Information

Recovery Support Specialist – The RSS recertification process requires that you have completed 60 hours of continuing education every three years. Advocacy Unlimited offers trainings all throughout the year to help you accumulate hours, many of these offerings are at no cost. There is also no fee to renew your certification.

To download the Recovery Support Specialist Re-Certification Form click HERE.

Certified Peer Recovery Specialist CPRS, more commonly known as a Peer Recovery Coach must renew their certification on an annual basis. This process must be done through the Connecticut Certification Board, Inc.  In addition to the required form there is a fee of $50.00 for each renewal.

For more information on the Certified Peer Recovery Specialist renewal process, click HERE.

Continuing Education / Additional Trainings

Intentional Peer Support provides a powerful framework for creating relationships where both people learn and grow together. We offer a range of trainings to examine and practice what is necessary to build mutual support.

IPS is used across the world in community, peer support, and human services settings, and is a tool for community development with broad appeal to people from all walks of life.

Hearing Voices Network – USA Trainings: Part of the intent and purpose of Hearing Voices Network USA is to support the development of new groups throughout the country, and to broaden understanding of the HVN approach across the US.  In support of that, we have an experienced group of trainers who can offer you and your group or organization an option that meets your needs.

The Hearing Voices Network (HVN) USA is one of over 20 nationally-based networks around the world joined by shared goals and values, incorporating a fundamental belief that there are many ways to understand the experience of hearing voices and other unusual or extreme experiences.  It is part of an international collaboration between professionals, people with lived experience, and their families to develop an alternative approach to coping with emotional distress that is empowering and useful to people, and does not start from the assumption that they have a chronic illness.

LivingWorks – ASIST: Trusted by professionals yet learnable by anyone, LivingWorks Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) is the only workshop of its kind. Updated continually to reflect new knowledge, LivingWorks ASIST has been empowering people to provide skilled, life-saving interventions for over 35 years.

LivingWorks safeTALK: Using a simple yet effective model, LivingWorks safeTALK empowers everyone to make a difference. With over 120,000 people attending each year, it’s the world’s fastest-growing suicide prevention training.

LivingWorks – Suicide to Hope: is based on extensive evidence of effectiveness for recovery and growth approaches. Even after a LivingWorks ASIST intervention, thoughts of suicide sometimes linger as people feel “stuck” with the unresolved issues in their lives. LivingWorks suicide to Hope empowers professionals to help them address these issues so they can recover, grow, and stay safe and alive in the long term.

Mental Health First Aid: is a skills-based training course that teaches participants about mental health and substance-use issues. Most of us would know how to help if we saw someone having a heart attack—we’d start CPR, or at the very least, call 9-1-1. But too few of us would know how to respond if we saw someone having a panic attack or if we were concerned that a friend or co-worker might be showing signs of alcoholism.

Mental Health First Aid also offers different modules which serve specific areas of the population. Use the links below to go directly to anyone of these training opportunities.

Adult – Youth – Teen – Public Safety (police) – Fire & EMS – Workplace – Veterans

Older Adults – Rural Communities – Higher Education 

If you need to renew your Mental Health First Aid certification click HERE for more information.

Talk Saves Lives (TM): An Introduction to Suicide Prevention – A community-based presentation that covers the general scope of suicide, the research on prevention, and what people can do to fight suicide. Attendees will learn the risk and warning signs of suicide, and how together, we can help prevent it.

More Than Sad: has taught over a million students and educators how to be smart about mental health. This program teaches teens to recognize the signs of depression in themselves and others, challenges the stigma surrounding depression, and demystifies the treatment process. This program teaches educators to recognize signs of mental health distress in students and refer them for help. The program complies with the requirements for teacher education suicide prevention training in many states.

Training Program: Facilitating a Suicide Bereavement Support Group: The AFSP Facilitator Training Program offers suicide prevention organizers a way to create and facilitate a community support group for suicide loss survivors in the aftermath of a suicide. Courses are offered as two-day trainings, of up to 36 attendees, and include lecture, interactive discussion, and role-playing. They are led by experts in the field of suicide bereavement. AFSP offers two courses: one on facilitating adult support groups, and another on facilitating child and teen support groups.

Emotional CPR (eCPR): is an educational program designed to teach people to assist others through an emotional crisis by three simple steps: C – Connecting, P – emPowering, & R – Revitalizing. The Connecting process of eCPR involves deepening listening skills, practicing presence, and creating a sense of safety for the person experiencing a crisis.

The emPowering process helps people better understand how to feel empowered themselves as well as to assist others to feel more hopeful and engaged in life. In the Revitalizating process, people re-engage in relationships with their loved ones or their support system, and they resume or begin routines that support health and wellness which reinforces the person’s sense of mastery and accomplishment, further energizing the healing process.

QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer — the 3 simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. Each year thousands of Americans, like you, are saying “Yes” to saving the life of a friend, colleague, sibling, or neighbor.

QPR can be learned in our Gatekeeper course in as little as one hour.

(IHF) INTEGRATED HEALING FACILITATOR – In the attempt to address addiction and mental health issues, New Life II utilizes trained Integrated Healing Facilitators (IHF) to implement addiction recovery-related support to participants. Our IHFs are people who are in recovery and have been trained to use their life experiences as tools to assist individuals in all stages of their recovery. Our IHFs are graduates of the Integrated Healing Facilitators Institute, whose trainers are provided by New Life II and are certified by the Connecticut Certification Board. IHFs are available for one-to-one support to meet with an individual struggling with an addiction, mental health and reentry-related issue.

BUILDING RESILIENCE: STRENGTHENING SELF, OTHERS AND YOUR COMMUNITY – Building Resilience is an engaging, interactive pedagogical experience that examines the nature of trauma, the correlation between trauma and mental health, and how COVID-19 has impacted mental health services and the need for human connection. Building Resilience also provides insight into human trafficking, racial injustices, aids in building trauma-informed communication and practices, explores connections with family, sense of community, and how we are taking care of ourselves, focusing on mind, body, and spirit.

LOVING THROUGH: SUPPORTING LOVED ONES EXPERIENCING ADDICTION & MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGES – Loving Through is an interactive learning experience designed for family members looking to increase their personal capacity to continue supporting loved ones experiencing mental health and/or addiction challenges. Loving Through also provides clinical service providers with strength-based resources to engage natural (family) support. Loving Through was developed in response to a critical need; There are few resources and training offered to family/loved ones who subsequently experience immense burden while trying to maintain a supportive relationship, where mental health and addiction issues are present. Loving Through provides an engaging culturally responsive curriculum, taught by facilitators who have direct lived experience with the multitude of challenges that come with loving through hardship.

SMART Recovery – Facilitator Training: Our most popular training course where you’ll be provided with an in-depth, comprehensive training on the SMART Recovery 4-Point Program, the SMART Recovery tools and more. SMART Recovery is a global community of people and families working together to resolve addictive problems. In our free group discussion meetings, participants learn from one another using a self-empowering approach based on the most current science of recovery.

Keep The Promise Coalition – Along with your Peer Support training you may wish to consider the educational offerings the Keep The Promise Coalition, better known as KTP. As you know every Peer is an Advocate, and in today’s world our voices are more important than ever. KTP has two training’s that are extremely useful for advocates who address issues at the state level.

Essentials of Legislative Advocacy – This class teaches the “essentials” of the legislative process and how to influence elected officials.

Legislative Leadership – A training for experienced advocates interested in knowing more details about the legislative process and playing a lead role in KTP advocacy at the Legislative Office Building or locally.

Becoming a member of KTP is free and is a wonderful way to stay in the loop when laws concerning the mental health and addiction services system, disability rights, state programs, insurance coverage and others issues that come up in a legislative session to be implemented, eliminated, or changed.

To learn more about becoming a member of the Keep The Promise Coalition and click HERE and visit website today.

American Red Cross – Training & Certification: Learn about our health & safety courses for individuals and companies:

First Aid: Prepare for the unexpected with first aid training from the American Red Cross. Developed and taught by experts, our convenient, affordable courses can help your organization become OSHA compliant – and empower your team to provide care when it’s needed most.

CPR: Expert training. OSHA compliant. Affordable. If you need CPR training to satisfy an OSHA-mandated job requirement or you just want to know how to keep your loved ones safe, the American Red Cross has world-class instructors and award-winning online courses to ensure that you get the latest information, and quality instruction.

AED: Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, at any time. With Red Cross AED and CPR training, you can learn when – and how – to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). Our CPR/AED courses are developed and taught by experts with decades of combined experience – and deliver simple-to-use techniques and information that can help you save a life.

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