Barbarannamated Posted December 4, 2011 Share Posted December 4, 2011 I've seen the topic of Certified Peer Specialist programs touched on throughout the forums and hope to gather ideas on the programs. I first became aware of the Peer Program in Pennsylvania and have since talked with CPSs and Supervisors in a few states including Vermont, Tennessee and California. If anyone is a CPS, please chime in and correct any info. I'm NOT a CPS, but have looked into the training. Briefly, the Cerified Peer Specialist is someone who has been in the mental health system as a patient and works as a 'bridge' to help someone else (perhaps like a Sponsor in AA or NA?). The person I know in Pennsylvania was in outpatient couseling and became a CPS. Many have been hospitalized. The CPS in Pa goes into the hospital at least 1 day/week and has set up the program for the community hospital and GoodWill CPSs. Peer Support programs vary greatly by state. Pennsylvania has the highest number of CPSs according to the info I have. I will link to a Powerpoint Presentation that has info broken down by state, including advice on setting up programs. http://www.northcare-up.org/3%205%202%20C%20PillarsforCPSS11%2009.pdf I am most familiar with Pennsylvania's GoodWill program (there are several providers) and have talked extensively to CPSs, a Masters Level supervior, and several peers (consumers). Most entered the peer program shortly after a hospitalization. Diagnoses include most Axis I disorders - Major Depressive Disorder, Schizophrenia, Bipolar - and several have Axis II diagnoses (Borderline Personality Disorder) which I adamantly disagree with but that is for another discussion. SIDEBARB: Interesting - I just noticed Axis IV. Life events A common thread among the CPSs I have spoken with is a dislike of the way they were treated by the system and a desire to change it from within. IMHO, they are making headway on several fronts. I was shocked by the Pennsylvania Community Mental Health system in this small city. There is no continuity of care aside from the CPS. It is not uncommon for the peers/consumers to see a different MD every other month for their 15 minute med check. It is a revolving door for physicians. The city is very depressed economically with a large percentage of people on SSDI or welfare. Philadelphia 'relocated' their criminals to this town for several years during political maneuvering. Most doctors have no idea what happened during hospitalization or diagnoses/treatments upon discharge. The docs keep adding new meds AND diagnoses. A 30-something year old woman lost her husband to a medication overdose - hospital error - a few years earlier and was clearly still grieving. She had diagnoses of Borderline, MDD and Schizoaffective when I met her although she left the hospital with only a MDD diagnosis. She is an intelligent, articulate, warm woman who devours any info she can about her diagnoses and meds. I believe she is now back in college. She was on 10-12 meds at one time. We backtracked to the time of her hospitalization and at 2-3 years out, she had 'earned' 2 additional diagnoses and laundry list of meds. EX: lithium to treat side effects of Lamictal (or vice versa) in addition to Zyprexa, Prozac, propanolol, trazodone, Ambien and meds for asthma and cholesterol. Her weight was approaching 500lbs.and she was trying desperately to lose weight thru diet. (yes, on Zyprexa) This was my introduction to the Community Mental Health system (not rural). I realize this case is not unusual. The client, CPS and I analyzed her history and meds, determining when and why they were prescribed. Then, the CPS and client talked with her doctors over a few visits and gradually eliminated and/or reduced dosages. She was on a monster dose of lithium. Cutting that dose by 1/3 made a tremendous difference in her energy level. Propanolol seems to be the drug of choice for anxiety in that area. As I'm sure most of you know, it can cause the 'beta blocker blahs' because it lowers blood pressure by lowering heartrate (and energy). I think you get the picture. I've acted as a liaison between several people and their doctors, beginning with my elderly parents. They have white coat syndrome and are very intimidated by their doctors. Their generation still believes that doctors are Gods and they don't ask questions. Although my dad will DC my mother's meds if he reads something and becomes concerned. The first time I went to an appointment with my mother, the doc spent about 15 minutes with us. When we left, she was amazed that he spent so much time with us. I've had the exact same reaction when working with elderly people here in S.Ca. I believe there is an opportunity to do polydrugging damage control thru the Peer Support System. The person I met in Tennesse, Lisa Ragan, MSSW, works for the state and coordinates all of the Peer Programs. I don't know her personal story, but she clearly communicated her disdain for the DSM. She is a strong advocate of peer support instead of partial hospitalization programs in bridging the gap between hospitalization and life in the community. It is a way to work from within the system. The CPS is the only person to see the client in their own environment aside from psych nurses who occasionally go to patient homes. Not all states have Peer Programs and some have extensive networks with drop-in centers where classes are held, computers available, etc. Georgia has a peer run respite house with overnite accomodations for crisis situations. Arizona has 'Living Rooms'. Oregon has an extensive system w/great activists. Steven Morgan in Vermont has done phenomenal work. His story The Wind Never Lies is powerful. He has written several excellent pieces, including a challenging Letter to NAMI about changes he wants to see in the approach to Mental Health. I spoke with Steven in July when I was feeling a bit left of center but unaware that I was experiencing protracted withdrawal. If I'm not mistaken, Gianna Kali was a CPS at one point. She is AMAZING! If anyone has not checked out her blog, please do so now! Be sure to sign up for her daily blog posts - BeyondMeds - link on homepage here, right column. Crocus, the attached piece shows no peer program in Colorado. Are you aware of any? Maybe that's your job - to head it up There are a few peers in Mark Foster's videos on his website (including Will). There are several names in the attachment as well as guidelines for setting up programs. It isn't a high-paying career, but if you're like me - not working - it may be a bridge where we can use our experience to help others UNmedicate (appropriately, of course). I haven't found a site that covers CPS activities and services throughout the US. I also don't know if this is something that is in other countries. Alto, is it ok to collect info here? Well, that certainly turned into a long message! Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc). Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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