Kansas Certified Peer Specialist Training and Peer Consultation and Support Service

The Center for Behavioral Health Initiatives has served as the primary resource for traiing for the Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) credential in Kansas for the last nine years. The information below pertains largely to Kansas training. Through CBHI and other organizations, our staff has also helped develop programs and train peer specialists in Idaho and Missouri. If you are interested in building or enhancing the peer support program and profession in your state, municipality, territory, or nation, please contact CEI Executive Director Scott Wituk at scott.wituk@wichita.edu.


Certified Peer Specialists provide support for mental health consumers in the Behavioral Health system by engaging peers in addressing barriers, leveraging strengths, inspiring hope, and accessing resources in order to foster recovery, promote growth, and aid healing.

Peer specialists are unique in the mental health field because we have been there too. The basic idea of peer support services is helping one another overcome difficulties through shared experience with a psychiatric diagnosis. We understand what our peers are experiencing in a way that other providers may not. Even though there is growing research underscoring the effectiveness of peer support work, in the context of the actual service, our lives tell us that recovery is possible for everyone, that we are the evidence.


CBHI’s Certified Peer Specialist (CPS)

Basic Training prepares those who have been hired as peer specialists at Kansas Community Mental Health Centers and state hospitals to do peer support work and qualifies them to take the certification exam. Certification is required six months after hire and allows peer specialists working under the supervision of a qualified mental health provider and contracted with a KanCare managed care organization to bill Medicaid.

CBHI uses a modified version of the Appalachian Consulting Group’s respected “Georgia model” of peer support training. Our training emphasizes the use of the lived experience of a mental health diagnosis to help others find strengths and overcome barriers in order to foster mental health recovery. We take a trauma-informed approach, recognizing the prevalence of trauma among those who receive mental health services. We train relationship-building concepts on the premise that healing happens in relationship.

All of our trainers and peer consultants are also Certified Peer Specialists and have lived experience with a psychiatric diagnosis.

To qualify for CBHI’s CPS Basic Training, one must:

  • Self-identify as having direct, first-hand experience of living with a psychiatric diagnosis (not just be a family member or friend of someone who does)

  • Be hired to provide peer support in the Medicaid system (at a Community Mental Health Center) or at another qualifying state agency (such as a state mental health facility)

  • Be over the age of 18 and have a high school diploma or GED

Do You Want to Be a Peer Specialist?

The job of a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) in Kansas is to help instill the hope of recovery from psychiatric diagnosis or dual diagnosis. CPSs demonstrate or model recovery skills they have learned through lived experience. A person wanting to become a CPS must complete a training program and pass a written exam.

A peer specialist has the opportunity to be aware of, openly share, and model what they have learned in the recovery process.

Some Questions You May Want to Ask Yourself

These questions are meant to assist you in deciding about participating in the Certified Peer Specialist Basic training. They address the knowledge foundation and supports that have contributed to success in the class for past CPS participants.

Peer Specialist Readliness

This is for your use alone and should not be submitted to the Peer Support Supervisor, Case Manager or the WSU Peer Support trainers. The application itself will ask about what you learned here.

For more information on becoming a CPS and CPS Basic Training, email William Welch at william.welch@wichita.edu or go to the Training Teams website.


CBHI proctors, grades, develops, and evaluates the state CPS certification exam. Those who have received CPS Basic Training or are graduates of the University of Kansas’s Consumers as Providers (CAP) program are eligible to sit for the certification exam. Email William Welch at william.welch@wichita.edu for information or to schedule an exam.


PCS enhances peer support services by strengthening relationships and interactions between mental health consumers and peer providers. It is available to any agency that provides peer support services within the state Medicaid system or to other qualifying agencies, such as state mental health facilities.

PCS arranges advanced training on peer support concepts and practices, helps programs implement and foster CPS services through consultation and technical support, and provides one-on-one support for peer specialists in the field. For more information or to arrange PCS, please email Simon Messmer at simon.messmer@wichita.edu.


TISC: The Trauma-Informed Systems of Care Team at the Community Engagement Institute (CEI) helps to Cultivate Compassionate Culture that reflect empowerment, safety, collaboration, trustworthiness, and choice for all staff and persons receiving services. The TISC team educates organizations about the impact of trauma and assists organizations to sustain cultural changes which effectively support people in growth and healing. We provide organizational assessments and readiness preparation for system change, training and professional education for all staff (CEUs available), implementation consultation and organizational plan development, on-going support, and coaching. Our team has provided TISC services to Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS), Wyandot Center for Community Behavioral Healthcare, Sedgwick County Developmental Disability Organization (SCDDO), Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT), Via Christi, Consumer Run Organizations (CRO), as well as Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC) and other service providers throughout the state of Kansas. For more information contact Joyce McEwen Crane at joyce.mcewencrane@wichita.edu or 316-978-6746.


Consumer-run organizations (CROs) are nonprofit organizations of people who have experienced psychiatric diagnosis, psychological distress, or extreme states of mind and who join together to support one another in recovery, resilience, and positive life-change. CBHI supports CROs throughout Kansas by providing technical assistance, organizational development, and peer support training in order to enhance and strenghthen peer support practice at CRO’s, and to support the recovery of their members. For more information, or to receive assistance for your CRO, please contact Sam Demel at samuel.demel@wichita.edu or Scott Wituk at scott.wituk@wichita.edu.


YLinK: Youth Leaders in Kansas (YLinK) is a statewide youth-run/adult-supported program. Members of these groups increase skills related to youth leadership, advocacy, peer support, and youth-adult partnerships, as well as increase awareness of post-high school opportunities and community needs. There are currently nine YLinK sites around the state of Kansas: McPherson, Iola, Coffeyville, Independence, Ottawa, Salina, Newton, Liberal, and Derby. Each group is free of charge to youth and families and is supported by the Community Engagement Institute (CEI) and Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services (KDADS). For more information contact Brittney Doll-Hauck at brittney.hauck@wichita.edu or 316-978-5354.