In 2018, the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network applied for and received a Statewide Consumer Network Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to develop a Georgia-specific Forensic Peer Mentoring Training Program, which with the support of Georgia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, and Department of Corrections, has allowed Georgia to expand its success in reducing recidivism. In March 2019, GMHCN conducted a series of six listening sessions across the state, where we heard from Georgia's communities about what they need to improve the lives of our justice-involved citizens living with mental health concerns, including those who are returning to their communities from correctional facilities. Based on what was learned during those sessions, a Georgia-specific curriculum for a Forensic Peer Mentor Training was developed, and the first Ready4Reentry training was held in November 2019.
Based upon the success of the Ready4Reentry training development through its first two years, in 2020 the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network applied for and received a three-year continuation of the Statewide Consumer Network Grant. Throughout the pandemic, with the support of Georgia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the Ready4Reentry training team at GMHCN has remained committed to providing trainings as scheduled to help keep Georgia on track in reducing recidivism and creating greater potential for its returning citizens, families, and communities.
Learn more about the important role Forensic Peer Mentors play in Georgia's communities here.
For more information or to get involved, please contact the Forensic Peer Mentor Training Development Project director, Lindsey Sizemore, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Forensic Peer Mentors:
Are people living in recovery from substance use disorder and/or other mental health diagnoses, and have lived experience in the criminal justice system;
Operate from the perspective that everyone who has lived experience with mental health and/or substance use challenges has the capacity to recover and successfully live lives of meaning and purpose in the communities of their choice;
Use a person-centered approach to engagement, with mental health, substance use, and co-occurring conditions;
Provide trauma-informed, culturally-competent direct services. Serve as role-models, and share problem-solving and recovery-focused skills; Perform a wide range of tasks aimed at creating mutual relationships with peers in hopes that the peers will regain control over their lives and over their recovery process;
Maintain an active certification of their Georgia Certified Peer Specialist - Addictive Disease and/or Certified Peer Specialist - Mental Health credential through ongoing continuing education.
Have completed the Ready4Reentry Forensic Peer Mentor training authorized by the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.