Behavioral Health

STUDY – Am. Journal of Public Health – The Depths of Despair Among U.S. Adults Entering Midlife –   the close of 2016, the National Center for Health Statistics released a report on US mortality in the previous year. For the first time since 1993, life expectancy at birth declined, and death rates across 8 of the 10 leading causes increased.1 This trend persisted, with reports for 2016 and 2017 demonstrating continuing declines.2,3 These troubling reports suggested that progress against the leading causes of death had stalled, or even reversed. Underlying these population statistics, research demonstrated that the increase in mortality was concentrated among low-educated, middle-aged non-Hispanic Whites, who, despite longstanding declines in mortality, have experienced rising mortality since the late 1990s

( Mental Health, Depression, SDOH)

How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime | Nadine Burke Harris
Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.
SB-10 Mental health services: peer support specialist certification.(2019-2020)
SB 614 Feb 2015 Fact Sheet 
CA Senate Bill 614 (Leno-D) Peer/Family State Peer Certification Program PASSED the CA Senate and was ordered to continue in the next legislative session in January, 2016.  Contact: Carrie Martin (916) 651-4011
SB 614, as amended, Leno. Medi-Cal: mental health services: peer and family support specialist certification
Budget Act. The act provides that it may be amended by the Legislature by a 2 ⁄3 vote of each house as long as the amendment is consistent with and furthers the intent of the act, and that the Legislature may also clarify procedures and terms of he the act by majority vote. This bill would require the State Department of Health Care Services to establish, by July 1, 2016, a statewide peer and family support specialist certification program, as a part of the state’s comprehensive mental health delivery system and the Medi-Cal program.
The bill would include 3 certification categories: adult peer support specialists, family peer support specialists, and parent peer support specialists. The certification program’s components would include, among others, defining responsibilities and practice guidelines, determining curriculum and core competencies, specifying training and continuing education requirements, and establishing a code of ethics and certification revocation processes.
This bill would require the department to collaborate with OSHPD and interested stakeholders in developing the certification program, and to obtain technical assistance pursuant to a specified joint state-county decisionmaking process. The bill would authorize the department to use funding provided through the MHSA and designated funds administered by OSHPD, to develop and administer the program.
This bill would require the department to amend the Medicaid state plan to include a certified peer and family support specialist as a provider type for purposes of the Medi-Cal program, but would implement this provision only if and to the extent that federal financial participation is available and the department obtains all necessary federal approvals.
The bill would authorize the department to enter into exclusive or nonexclusive contracts on a bid or nonbid basis, as specified, on a statewide or more limited geographic basis.
This bill also would authorize the department to implement, interpret, or make specific its provisions by various informational documents until regulations are adopted. This bill would declare that it clarifies terms and procedures under the Mental Health Services Act


Jeff Oxendine

Jeff Oxendine





Lupe Alonzo-Diaz, M.P.Aff., Deputy Director
Healthcare Workforce Development Division
Phone: (916) 326-3700 Ext 7  email:

Mental Health Services Act Workforce Education and Training Five-Year Plan 2014 – 2019

Peer Support Specialists ( Behavioral /Mental Health Community Health Workers) are an integral part of the CA 5 year Mental Health Services Act Workforce Education and Training (WET) Five-Year Plan 2014 – 2019

California Peer Specialist (PS) Career Pathway (ppt 27 slides- slide 18 visual representation of PSS career path)

National Ethical Guidelines and Practice Standards National Practice Guidelines for Peer Supporters 

Recovery is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. ~~SAMHSA Working Definition of Recovery (Last updated in 2011)

Working Well Together 

Certification of Consumer, Youth, Family and Parent Peer Providers
A Summary of Regional Stakeholder Meeting Findings ( 44 Pages; 2012)


PSS LA April 20130001

Marvin J. Southard, D.S.W.  April 24, 2013

P.E.E.R.S Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is releasing “A Practitioners Resource Guide: Helping Families to support Their LGBT Children.” This resource Guide is designed to help health care and social service practitioners provide greater insight to families on how they can support their children who are coming out or identifying themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). SAMHSA produced this Guide based in part on research from the Family Acceptance Project, which indicates that LGBT young adults who reported high levels of family rejection during adolescence, compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection, were:

  • 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide;
  • 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression; and
  • 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs. 

Click here to find the guide:

Monthly Peer Certification Stakeholder Web Call- (WWT)

Hello Community Members,

We have over 115 people registered already but if you have not done so already, Please register for Monthly Peer Certification Stakeholder Web Call–this Thursday Noon on Sep 25, 2014 12:00 PM PDT at:

Provide input and learn updates on progress towards State Peer Certification of Consumer, Youth, Family and Parent Peer Providers

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

I apologize that our neighborhood’s cable internet went down in the middle of the webcall in August. We know more since then so we will give more updates.

Thanks for your commitment!

Karin Lettau, MS
Working Well Together, Southern Region
Technical Assistance Coordinator
Direct Line: 619-246-7797


Community Health Workers Known as Promotores Enhance Access to Culturally Tailored Services for Elderly, Low-Income Racial/Ethnic Minorities, Leading to Improvements in Mental Health


The Union of Pan Asian Communities manages and oversees the Elder Multicultural Access and Support Services (more commonly known as EMASS) Program, which uses community health workers known as promotores to provide culturally competent mental health education and services to elderly racial and ethnic minorities in San Diego County. Working with clients of similar racial and ethnic backgrounds and often of the same age, promotores offer group classes covering recreation, healthy living, and mental health education; one-on-one counseling and support; referrals to language-concordant mental health providers; and transportation to, and translation services at, appointments with medical and mental health providers. The program has enhanced access to mental health screening, referral, education, and peer support, leading to improved mental health status and health literacy…


Community partners recruited many of the promotores, including promotores from the African-American community (selected by the Urban League), the Somali community (Somali Family Service), and the Latino community (San Diego County branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness). Union of Pan Asian Communities UPAC recruited a promotora from the Filipino community.

to read more