Perry Wellness Center is proud to report it now employs a total of six certified peer specialists (CPS). Danelle Adams Skala and Phyllis Bleckley recently received notice that they had passed the Certified Peer Specialists Test, completing all requirements for state certification.

Georgia's first class of CPS graduates entered the workforce in December, 2001. Since that time, hundreds of CPS's have assumed roles in peer support and other treatment programs around the state. Peer specialists have varying degrees of formal education, but what they have in common is the experienceof living their own lives in recovery. Their perspective on mental illness is based upon having experienced its challenges themselves.

Training and certification gives CPS's additional tools to assist their peers in building skills, solving problems, setting goals, and working on their own self-directed recovery. Certified peer specialists must also have a fundamental understanding of client rights, confidentiality, documentation requirements, and Georgia's mental health system.

The peer specialist movement, in which Georgia has been a national pioneer, grew out of the 1999 Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health, which cited the value of peer-to-peer support in mental health recovery. By providing a role model for recovery, CPS's are critical in the shift from a focus upon illness to a focus on developing strengths.

In addition to our newest CPS's, founder Stuart Perry, Gaye Williams, Jackie Teasley, and Elizabeth Moss serve as certified peer specialists at Perry Wellness Center.

In this photo, Danelle Skala and Phyllis Bleckley accept their new duties.  Congratulations!

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