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Detail for
New England MIRECC Peer Education Center

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Product Information:

Name: New England MIRECC Peer Education Center
Description: As the VA health care system began hiring Peer Support Technicians and, more recently, Peer Specialists, many questions arose regarding the peersí roles, responsibilities, and types of training they require for their roles in VA. In 2008, the VISN 1 New England MIRECC developed the New England MIRECC Peer Education Center which offers free ongoing training opportunities for Veterans who want to become peer support providers as well as Veterans who are providing peer support services in the VA health care system as volunteers, Without Compensation Employees, VA-employed Peer Support Technicians, or VA-employed Peer Specialists. The goals of the training sessions are to enhance peer support providersí knowledge and further development of skills that will aid them in their roles within the VA health care system. The mission and purposes of this center are consistent with VAís goal of ensuring that training needs for VA peer support providers are being met. The centerís practice of clinical staff and peer support providers partnering in the planning and facilitation of trainings can serve as a role model for similar partnerships between clinical staff and peer support providers in health care service delivery in the VA system. In furtherance of this modeling, the centerís co-directors are a clinical psychologist and a VA-employed Peer Support Technician who is a Veteran and has a key leadership role in all of the centerís operations. The New England MIRECC Peer Education Center has offerings in both an Introductory Track and a Continuing Education Track to serve the needs of current and future VA peer support providers. The training offerings cover a variety of topics, and each session is structured to promote knowledge acquisition and skill enhancement related to mandatory competencies expected of VA peer support providers. Experiential activities are often included to allow participants to practice applicable skills and receive feedback. Continuing education credits are awarded for every face-to-face training for peer support providers. Here is a sample of some of the training offerings from the center that include materials that can be downloaded from the VISN 1 MIRECC web pages: Confidentiality & Peer Support Services: This seminar focuses on discussing strategies to maintain confidentiality, why maintaining confidentiality is important in peer support relationships, limitations of confidentiality, and guidelines for what to do in challenging situations where an issue of confidentiality is at stake. Downloadable Materials: PowerPoint Presentation and Vignettes for Group Discussion Disengaging from Peer Support Relationships: This seminar discusses the necessity and value of ending peer support relationships and also discusses when and how to engage in the ending process. Downloadable Materials: PowerPoint Presentation Part I of Group Facilitation Skills Training Series: This workshop focuses on tips and guidelines for planning peer support groups and being a successful group facilitator. Participants have opportunities to practice their group facilitation skills and obtain feedback. Downloadable Materials: PowerPoint Presentation; Role Play Activities; Practice Exercise; and Practice Exercise Feedback Sheet Part II of Group Facilitation Skills Training SeriesóDealing with Challenges in Groups: This workshop focuses on how to manage crises and disruptions in peer support groups and be a successful group facilitator. Participants have opportunities to practice their group facilitation skills and obtain feedback. Downloadable Materials: PowerPoint Presentation; Role Play Activities; Practice Exercise; and Practice Exercise Feedback Sheet Making Effective Use of Your Recovery Story in Peer Support Relationships: This seminar explores the importance of self-disclosure when providing peer support services to Veterans. The seminar addresses how a peer support providerís personal recovery story can be an effective and powerful tool in instilling hope in others as they follow their own path of recovery, but also how it might become a potential barrier if not used effectively with the right goals in mind. Participants look critically at the differences between illness and recovery stories, and they learn the benefits and potential risks associated with sharing either an illness story or recovery story when providing peer support services. Participants also learn the essential components of an effective recovery story, and how a recovery story may be used in direct peer support work with Veterans as well as how it could be used when speaking to members of VA health care staff in different settings and/or when speaking to community groups. Downloadable Materials: PowerPoint Presentation and Session Activities Navigating Boundaries in Peer Support Services: This seminar discusses the importance of maintaining appropriate interpersonal boundaries and what boundaries look like when peer support providers interact with Veteran consumers, fellow peer support providers, and VA clinical staff members. Downloadable Materials: PowerPoint Presentation and Vignettes for Group Discussion Peer Support Provider Self-Care--Walking the Tightrope Between Helping Others & Maintaining Your Own Wellness: This seminar focuses on the dangers of compassion fatigue and burnout in caregiver roles and the importance of including a regular routine of self-care activities that enhance oneís wellness and sense of well-being when working as a peer support provider. Downloadable Materials: Presentation Handout and Session Activities Psychosocial Rehabilitation & Peer Support: This seminar presents an overview of psychosocial rehabilitation principles and values. Discussion focuses on how peer support services fit with the mission of psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery and why peer support providers are important to the role of recovery. Downloadable Materials: PowerPoint Presentation and Vignettes for Group Discussion Understanding Mental Health Symptoms from a Recovery Perspective: In this seminar, participants learn about medical model approaches and psychosocial rehabilitation approaches to addressing mental health conditions. They also learn about recovery-oriented interventions they can use as VA peer support providers to assist Veterans with mental health issues. Downloadable Materials: PowerPoint Presentation and Vignettes for Group Discussion
VISN 1: New England MIRECC

Contact to order product: Patricia Sweeney, Psy.D., CPRP
Phone:
E-mail: Patricia.Sweeney@va.gov
Product URL: http://www.mirecc.va.gov/visn1/education/peer.asp

Product Formats:

NOTE: If you want the product and it is DVD or CD then please e-mail or call the contact above to arrange delivery by US mail.

  • PowerPoint

Language Availability:

  • English

Target Audience:

  • Veterans
  • Rehab Specialist
  • MH Clinicians

Link to Uniform MH Services/Keywords:

  • Rehabilitation and Recovery
  • Seriously Mentally Ill

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This website is for educational purposes only.  If you are looking for professional medical care, find your local VA healthcare center by using the  VA Facilities Locator & Directory.

The VA has founded a national suicide prevention hotline to ensure veterans in emotional crisis have free, 24/7 access to trained counselors. Veterans can call the Lifeline number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), and press "1" to be routed to the Veterans Hotline; you can also visit their website for more information.

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