LMU Extension has received $300,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to establish a paraprofessional-level Peer Support Specialist program with a focus on working with children, adolescents, transitional-age youth, and the parents thereof.
The program addresses the lack of trained personnel providing adequate mental and emotional health care to those most vulnerable in our society, especially foster youth. Currently, people suffering from emotional and mental health difficulties are exclusively attended by licensed mental health professionals. However there’s a shortage of these licensed professionals and their services can be expensive for low-income earners. Paraprofessionals in the field are non-existent, and paraprofessional alcohol and drug counselors have a limited scope when it comes to only assisting those individuals with substance abuse. Therefore, people with mental and emotional complications, without prior history of addiction, are left unattended.
In response to this problem, the goals of the Peer Specialists to Youth Program are:
-To train Peer Specialists with a focus on behavioral health, to work with at-risk children, adolescents, and transitional-age youth.
-To establish partnerships with a wide range of organizations, to assure recruitment of students from diverse backgrounds, provide opportunities for field placement, career development, and job placement.
-To provide students with the appropriate knowledge to achieve gainful employment.
Ultimately, the advantage of committing Peer Specialists to assist the mentally ill, will provide the otherwise underserved with a solid foundation for social belonging.
Call LMU Extension at 310-338-1971 or visit us online at LMU Extension
This project is/was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under:
Grant number: 1 G02HP30571
Grant amount: $300,000.00
Title: Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training for Professionals and Paraprofessionals.
Total award amount: $300,000
Percentage financed with nongovernmental sources:
This information of content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA or the U.S. Government.