We are pleased to report that good progress is being made on a number of fronts.
Firstly, we’d like to announce that a PSACC website is now available in both official languages. Here’s the link: www.psac-canada.com/
We encourage you to spread the word informing people of its existence.
Expansion of the Board and creation of a Certification Committee
An invitation was extended to the national peer support leadership team/advisory group members asking them to express their interest in becoming members of PSACC’s Board of Directors and/or the Certification Committee.
- Certification Committee
We are in the process of creating a certification committee that will be composed of approximately half a dozen highly experienced peer supporters. The role of this committee will be instrumental in ensuring that the credentialing process is properly developed and implemented. The Certification Committee’s first task will be to validate the assessment tools and recommend any improvements that need to be made prior to implementation. Once the committee is fully operational, names of members will be made public and posted on our web site.
- Board of Directors
PSACC’s Board of Directors is in the process of being expanded from 3 to 7 members, the majority of whom are PWLE/peer supporters. Once all nominations have been confirmed, names will be announced in the next update and their bios will be available on our website. The first expanded board meeting is expected to take place this spring.
Interim appointment of Certification Process Development Officer and Manager for PSACC
Kim Sunderland has agreed to assume several duties and responsibilities for PSACC, for a period of 6 months, while the search continues to find a suitable candidate to fill the position of Executive Director on a more permanent basis. This interim appointment was met with enthusiasm by the peer support leadership team. Kim worked with the team over the last few years to finalize the standards of practice and she is now leading the development of the certification process, amongst other tasks.
Towards the goal of a national certification credential
The national standards of practice endorsed by the peer support community consist of four components – competencies, knowledge, experience, and a code of conduct. The process for certifying peer supporters is currently being developed and we are working on each of the components as follows:
- Competencies assessment – A reputable company in human resources management has been hired to establish an electronic system to facilitate the assessment of competencies. The competencies we will be assessing are the ones we established in 2010 through the national consultation process.
- Knowledge exam – Currently being developed based on the knowledge standard requirements.
- Practicum – For new peer supporters wishing to obtain a certification credential, participating in a practicum will be a condition for meeting the experience standard. The design of the practicum will soon get underway.
Note: Prior to embarking on the practicum and later obtaining certification, candidates will be required to read, understand and sign a statement agreeing to uphold the PSACC Code of Conduct.
Applying the PSACC Approach in a Practical Setting
We are proud to be working with the Department of Health & Wellness inNova Scotiaon a process to certify peer supporters in that province. Once certified, they will then provide peer support as part of the health care system. We believe that having peer supporters who abide by mandatory standards of practice will enhance the credibility of peer support and thereby help it gain greater acceptance within the traditional mental health care system.
PSACC is currently looking for other provinces/territories that may be interested in a similar program to what we are doing in Nova Scotia. We encourage you to promote this fact. Interested parties can write to info(at)psac-canada.com.
PSACC is also pursuing its evaluation of peer support in workplaces and is currently working with two large employers to pilot test our evaluation platform and gather quality data. We are hoping to increase the number of sites participating in the evaluation of peer support in various organizational settings.
I am very pleased to end this report by sharing some exciting news about a current member of PSACC’s Board of Directors. In December 2012 Dr. Rachel Thibeault was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. This award recognizes a lifetime of achievement and merit of a high degree, especially in service to Canada or to humanity at large.
Peer Support Accreditation and Certification (Canada)