New National Standards for Peer Support Workers

States recognize the value that the peer workforce brings to behavioral healthcare and are exploring ways to support and advance these critical services” SAMHSA spokesperson

SAMHSA recently released national model standards for certifying peer support workers. The primary goal of improving standards and certification processes for peer support specialists is accelerating the universal adoption, recognition, and integration of the peer mental health workforce across domains of the healthcare system. SAMHSA collaborated with federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local partners, including peer specialists, to develop national standards inclusive of substance use, mental health, and family peer certifications. These standards aim to mitigate the behavioral health workforce shortage by improving quality and access to a natural, humanistic, and effective form of care that is currently underutilized. 

In March of 2022, President Biden announced his administration’s strategy to address our nation’s mental health crisis. This national mental health strategy seeks to strengthen system capacity, connect more Americans to care, and create a continuum of support — transforming our health and social services infrastructure to address mental health holistically and equitably. A major goal within this systemic strategy is facilitating the adoption and implementation of a broader and versatile peer support workforce across the spectrum of healthcare sectors.

Peer support services have gained recognition over the past several decades as a vital component of mental and behavioral health services. Peer support workers use their lived experience of recovery, combined with professional training and supervision, to assist people in initiating and maintaining recovery. Through shared understanding and mutual empowerment, peer support workers can fill the gaps in support that clinical care cannot reach. A robust body of empirical evidence support peer specialists’ effectiveness in a myriad of positive outcomes including increased treatment retention, improved access to social supports and other social determinants of health, as well as reduced misuse recurrence, criminal justice involvement, and recidivism to hospitalizations and residential treatment (see our prior post for references). These benefits would not only improve care and health outcomes but also significantly lower the overall cost of behavioral healthcare.

The need for standardized national standards arises from the growing demand for consistency, competence, and accountability in this evolving field. These standards act as a benchmark — ensuring that individuals seeking peer support receive the highest quality of care, regardless of their location. Additionally, issues including reimbursement and state license requirements have set up barriers that organizations face when attempting to employ the peer workforce. While the new standards do not substitute for any state certification, their goal is to hasten universal adoption, recognition, and integration of the peer mental health workforce across the country. 

There are over 30,000 people who have overcome addiction and struggles with mental health that want to assist those who are currently struggling, Samir Malik, CEO of firsthand, told Behavioral Health Business. These national standards are a formative guide in the efforts to fulfill workforce gaps — and the growing need for peer support specialists to use their lived experience and versatile skillset to help individuals navigate their lives and stay on track with their self-directed goals and values. The model standards aim to standardize certification across the different forms of peer support — mental health, substance use, and family support — while recognizing the commonality and differences between them. SAMHSA outlines the education, hours of training, work experience, and examination requirements for peer support workers

The introduction of these new national standards on peer support certifications marks a significant milestone in the field of behavioral health services. These standards have the potential to elevate the quality, accessibility, reach, flexibility, and acceptability of peer support services — ensuring that individuals receive consistent, competent, and ethical care. As peer support continues to gain recognition and impact lives in its natural, humanistic form — the peer workforce will further solidify its position as an invaluable resource on the path to recovery and well-being.

Reach out to Manifesto directly at to learn more about how we can enhance your patients, members, or employees health and wellness for the long run.

Mental Health Action Day

At Manifesto Health, we know that a healthy and supportive workplace culture leads to healthier, purpose-driven workers. In honor of #MentalHealthAction Day, we plan to help our employees and members take one hour for their mental health by getting connected with nature, which has been proven to positively benefit physical and psychological well-being.

Ideas for connecting with nature:
-Try a walking meeting
-Enjoy a meal outdoors
-Take your pet to the park
-Go for a swim
-Visit a local nature preserve or garden

#MentalHealthIsHealth #peersupport #RecoveryReady

Behavioral Healthcare Industry Outlook Panel

Join us on May 19th for the first of our live webinar series, Behavioral Healthcare Industry Outlook, featuring leading voices in the behavioral health industry.

With an estimated one in four adults having a diagnosable mental health condition and over 60 million people using substances, the need for person-centered, culturally appropriate, high quality behavioral health treatment has become a top priority in the United States. These disturbing statistics have led to a nationwide push to enforce parity laws, prioritize health equity, and integrate physical and behavioral health.  In addition to expanding access and proving the care being offered is effective, stakeholders in the behavioral health field are calling for a corresponding change to the reimbursement model, one where incentives are based on value instead of volume. The result has been an accelerated push towards Value-based Care (VBC) contracts.

Hear from the expert panelists:
Tony Rocchino, Former Health Insurance Executive
Serenna MacLachlan MS, MAC, CADC-III, QMHP, CEO, SLO Recovery Center
Stu Segal, Owner & Consultant, @Strategic Solutions in Health
Eric J. Gremminger, ICADC, SAP Gremminger, Co-Founder & CEO, ERPHealth
Mike Lifshotz, Chief Executive Officer, Hatch Compliance
Gregory Keilin, Co-Founder / Chief Strategy and Growth Officer, Prosperity Behavioral Health
Nick Jaworski, Chief Executive Officer, Circle Social Inc.
Ben Dittman, Senior Vice President, Partnerships - Kipu Health
Dan Hilferty Jr., Co-Founder & CEO, Manifesto Health
Moderated by Cori E. McMahon, Psy.D., NCCE, Chief Clinical Officer at ERPHealth

Sign up today:

Collegiate Recovery Program (CRP) Resource Fair at Holy Family

Can't wait to support the Collegiate Recovery Program at Holy Family University led by our friend and fellow advocate, Dr. Patrick McElwaine!

Join us and many other recovery resources on Saturday, May 6th for this FREE community event that promises to be fun & impactful!

Behavioral Health Business VALUE Conference

Behavioral Health Business presents VALUE, a conference for industry executives focused on the future of value-based care in behavioral health.

C-suite executives and thought-leaders look to define the conversation around this and future payment models in behavioral health care.

Who You Can Expect to Meet at VALUE:

  • Behavioral health owners and operators
  • Payers, insurers and health systems
  • Investors and capital providers
  • Technology providers

How can peer support workers help to accelerate value-based care arrangements?

We will be answering that question and more alongside industry leaders in Outcome Tracking (ERPHealth) and EMR (Kipu Health) at next week's VALUE conference!

What is the Cost of SUDs for Employers, Employees, and their Health Insurance Payers?

A recently-published JAMA study titled, Medical Costs of Substance Use Disorders in the US Employer-Sponsored Insurance Population, examined the research question: What is the medical cost of substance use disorders (SUDs) for US employers, employees, and their health insurance payers?

The answer: of the 162 million non–Medicare eligible enrollees with employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) in 2018, 2.3 million had an SUD diagnosis. The annual attributable medical expenditure was $15,640 per affected enrollee and $35.3 billion in the population.

The authors said it best, so we’ll highlight their words:


  • “The cost of strategies to support employees and their health insurance dependents to prevent and treat SUDs can be considered in terms of potentially offsetting the existing high medical cost of SUDs.” 


  • "Not all people with SUDs have a diagnosis, and costs related to absenteeism, presenteeism, job retention, and mortality are not addressed.”


  • “In this study, 1% of the ESI population had an SUD diagnosis compared with 11% of workers who self-report SUD, suggesting the medical cost that employers and their health insurance payers face is likely far higher than reported here. Employers can take action by developing workplace-supported prevention, treatment, and recovery programs.”


Is your workplace Recovery-Ready?  Manifesto Health will co-create your workplace-supported recovery program. Let us help you lead the way!

Facing the Opioid Crisis Together: Mental Health (Patrick and Ramon)

Listen to the podcast here featuring our Cofounder, Patrick Mullen: Facing the Opioid Crisis Together

Patrick is a mental health counselor and doctoral student, and Ramon is a behavioral health specialist. Both are in long-term recovery.

In this episode, Patrick and Ramon discuss the intersection of substance use disorder and mental health, what it means to have a dual diagnosis or co-occurring conditions, and the importance of a holistic approach to treatment.

Watch Patrick’s story on YouTube. Watch Ramon’s story on YouTube.

Hosted by Heather Major, Director of Programs for Independence Blue Cross Foundation.

Recovery is possible, and help is available. Please visit our website for more information, resources and inspiration:

TM 2020 Someone You Know. All Rights Reserved.


This podcast contains opinionated content and may not reflect the opinions of any organizations this podcast is affiliated with.

This podcast discusses opioid use, opioid treatment, and physical and psychological trauma, which may be triggering for some listeners. Listener discretion is advised.

This podcast is solely for informational purposes. Listeners are advised to do their own diligence when it comes to making decisions that may affect their health. Patients in need of medical advice should consult their personal health care provider. The purpose of this podcast is to educate and to inform. It is not a substitute for professional care by a doctor or other qualified medical professional.

Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA) Conference

Yesterday, Manifesto Healths’s Co-Founder and CEO Daniel Hilferty Jr. presented to community providers across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at the annual Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association Conference. Dan discussed:

- Importance and effectiveness of helping those in recovery find their purpose and career path.
- Value of companies creating and sustaining recovery-ready work environments.
- Manifesto's mission and vision.

We are grateful for every opportunity to speak with community leaders about Manifesto and are so excited for many upcoming events.

Stay Tuned!

Someone You Know Campaign | IBX Foundation

The opioid crisis affects everyone. Whether you're experiencing addiction, on the path to recovery, or supporting a loved one’s journey, Someone You Know® can help inspire hope and support recovery.

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation’s Supporting Treatment and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Initiative is combating the opioid epidemic through leveraging cross-sector collaboration, enabling community partners, empowering nurses, and prevention. Below are resources for accessing help.

Our very own Cofounder & Chief Clinical Officer, Patrick Mullen, is honored to be a Someone You Know Ambassador by publicly sharing his own story and engaging in the community efforts to destigmatize addiction and promote a message of hope, resiliency, and empowerment.

Watch the SYK video here: Patrick's Recovery Journey

Patrick Flynn at the State of the Union

Check out the full-length article featuring our cofounder, Patrick Flynn, here: Rep. Dean welcomes Substance Use Awareness Activist, Patrick Flynn, to Tuesday's State of the Union

"You can talk about addiction in a lot of places, talk about your issues," Flynn said. "It's very tough to be able to openly bring that into the workplace."

That's true for the people battling addiction, but their loved ones, too, Flynn said. When he co-founded the Someone You Know associate group at IBX, Flynn said he often thought of his mother, who was afraid people would view her as a bad parent due to her son's addiction.

The support group provides IBX employees a place to share the way addiction impacts their lives. It aims to raise awareness about the effects of addiction while also reducing stigmas.

"That was the genesis and the passion behind starting the Someone You Know associate group," Flynn said. "I want to take it to where any individual who is working for IBX, who is dealing with this in any way, can feel comfortable enough to come forward to join this group and talk about it."

The support group is an extension of the the IBX Foundation's Someone You Know campaign, a grassroots effort designed to humanize the opioid crisis. Its 20 ambassadors – all local people in recovery – have been featured on various marketing platforms, including a mobile exhibit.

The ambassadors also have met with Mayor Jim Kenney, Gov. Tom Wolf and visited the U.S. Capitol building.

"I really think it's a powerful thing that more companies should be doing," Flynn said.