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Parent Peer Support: Opportunities in Mental Health

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Parent peer support allows one parent or caregiver (someone raising a child who is not the child’s parent) who has had experience navigating systems and finding resources and support for their child to help another parent facing those same issues. Parent peer support can be used in any child-serving system.

The National Federation of Families has established cross-system competencies and a national certification for parent peer support. The Federation was recently awarded the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) first National Family Support Technical Assistance Center, which will allow even more support for parent peer support across systems and throughout the lifespan of children.

This video from the Federation gives an overview of parent peer support:

The Role of the Family Peer Support Specialist


Families as Allies developed the curriculum for the Mississippi Department of Mental Health’s (DMH) parent peer support training in 2017 and has helped facilitate training since that time.  We are now helping the DMH with outreach to and recruitment of parents and caregivers who want to learn how to do parent peer support in an agency certified by the DMH.  We encourage any parent or caregiver who wants to learn more about doing peer support in DMH certified agencies to read the DMH documents related to parent peer support here.

We are excited that these new responsibilities will also give us the opportunity to work more closely with children’s services staff at provider agencies certified by the DMH. We are always happy to support our agency partners in better understanding parent peer support, family-driven practice and the role of family-run organizations.

This infographic from the Family Run Executive Directors Leadership Association (FREDLA) explains what parent peer support providers do.

Peer Support Activities Infographic - Families as Allies


This one explains the different roles for those providing parent peer support.Parent Peer Support Providers - Families as Allies

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