In the summer of 2014, a group of Peer Support Specialists in Mississippi volunteered to form a planning committee and create a statewide peer support network.

Our vision is to be a source of inspiration, empowerment, and encouragement to peer supporters (of all mental health conditions) throughout the state.

Like the practice of peer support itself, there are real benefits to being a member of AMPSS. We provide mutual support to each other by sharing strengths, resources, and information that empower us to better serve others. Benefits of membership include access to information relevant to peer support, networking opportunities, the ability to join a variety of committees to affect system change and personal empowerment, and opportunities for individuals who offer peer support to have a statewide voice in the mental health community, as well as in government and education.

Learn more about the benefits of AMPSS membership here.

You can see our Mission and Vision Statement here.

What is a Peer Support Specialist?

A Peer Support Specialist is an individual who has self-identified as having received or is currently receiving services for mental illness, substance use disorder, or intellectual/developmental distinctions in his or her personal recovery process. This individual has the ability to assist others in regaining control over their lives based on the principles of recovery and resiliency.

By inspiring the hope that recovery and resiliency are achievable goals, Peer Specialists, also called Peer Supporters, can assist others who are diagnosed with mental illness, substance use disorder, or intellectual/developmental distinctions to achieve their personal recovery goals by promoting self-determination, personal responsibility, and the empowerment inherent in self-directed recovery.

Peer Support services can include, but are not limited to, a variety of support services such as:

  • Assisting in the development of strengths-based individual goals
  • Serving as an advocate, mentor, or facilitator for resolution of issues that a peer is unable to resolve on their own
  • Assisting in the development of rehabilitation goals
  • Developing community support
  • Providing education on ways to maintain personal wellness and recovery
  • Providing education on mental health system navigation
  • Providing assistance in applying for a job or school
  • Providing assistance in finding better housing

Peer Support Specialists are not therapists, and, as such, are trained to refer therapeutic issues to trained Mental Health professionals.

What is a “Certified” Peer Support Specialist?

Individuals can refer to themselves as a Peer Support Specialist, but in Mississippi, a Certified Peer Support Specialist is a person who has successfully completes the Certified Peer Support Specialist Training, and is employed within the public mental health system as defined by the Mississippi Department of Mental Health (MDMH), and certified by the Mississippi Department of Mental Health’s Division of Professional Licensure and Certification (PLACE) Review Board. You can view more about this on the following website: