Beacon’s ‘coach approach’ earns accolades

Peer specialists and recovery coaches have long been part of Beacon Health Options’ solutions for members. For many years, they have helped Beacon members to reach their recovery and wellness goals through one-on-one coaching, advocacy and guidance.

What is new at Beacon is Mental Health America’s (MHA) endorsement of Beacon’s Health Promoter Training as a recommended training for peer specialists, an accelerated peers training program that promotes the “coach approach”: supporting individuals to identify their own solutions to their behavioral health and wellness needs.

The program expands and fine-tunes the skills of Beacon peers so they can become the “peers of choice”. MHA’s National Certified Peer Specialist (NCPS) certification, the first national advanced peer specialist certification, emphasizes a comprehensive approach to wellbeing. Beacon’s Health Promoter training is an important step for certified peer specialists to build skills that help them meet the needs of the growing and changing field.

Health Promoter Training amplifies person-centered approach

The 16-hour training broadens and deepens peers’ expertise to include general wellness, above and beyond behavioral health. Specifically, course content includes stages-of-change assessment, Motivational Interviewing, total health and wellbeing, and physical wellness modules.

Specific objectives of the Health Promoter Training are to:

• Expand participants’ breadth of expertise to include physical health conditions as potential co-morbid factors to mental health and substance use disorders, promoting a shared language that helps facilitate communication among integrated team members

• Train peer specialists in the “coach approach” to help individuals make and sustain meaningful changes in their lives

• Refresh participants’ training in Motivational Interviewing

• Strengthen coaching skills through active role plays

• Share coaching tools that have proven to be effective in the commercial world of wellness training

• Coach participants in supporting others in vision-setting and wellness goal-setting

• Train participants in coaching techniques that address weight management, smoking cessation and exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle

• Motivate peers and recovery coaches to continue doing positive work

Integrating care for mind and body

The Health Promoter Training benefits healthcare delivery by supporting the integration of behavioral and physical health care. For example, it creates a shared language that facilitates communication among integrated team members and provides a common focus on member needs, resulting in a joint appreciation for the member’s progress and personal accomplishments.

The Health Promoter Training benefits healthcare delivery by supporting the integration of behavioral and physical health care.

The member experience improves as well – in addition to improved personal health – with the integrated approach. The system at large also benefits from highly effective peer specialists. Several studies have confirmed the efficacy of transitional care post-discharge in reducing hospital readmission rates. Peer specialists, as people who know first-hand what the member is experiencing, are important players in that transitional care by providing trusted, community-based support.

Indeed, the training is about learning how to share a personal story of recovery for the benefit of someone else. It refines Beacon’s approach to be even more person-centered and strengths-based while also ensuring that our peers keep up with an ever-changing healthcare system that is looking to adopt an integrated delivery model.

“Through the NCPS, MHA continues to demonstrate its longstanding belief in the power of peer specialists to support individuals in improving both their mental and physical health. The Beacon Health Promoter Training equips peer specialists with the tools to support others in building healthy lives and reaching their goals,” says Patrick Hendry, vice president of Peer Advocacy, Supports, and Services at MHA.

Beacon’s Health Promoter Training is an important step in making our peer specialists the peers of choice, to ensure that they have the “right stuff” in supporting an individual through his/her recovery journey. MHA’s endorsement of that training is another important step in bringing to light the central and unique role that peer specialists play in helping Beacon members live their lives to the fullest.


2 Comments. Leave new

What educational bkgrnd is required to attain peer specialist and recovery coach training. Would it be a master level or higher?

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Clarence Jordan
November 26, 2019 9:42 pm

Hello Trish, Primarily Heath Promoter training is designed for certified peer specialist who desire to improve their competency in the delivery of services to those we serve. The majority of State Certifications require a high school, diploma or its equivalence. I have also found that clinicians who along with peer specialist deliver community based support services also benefit from this training.

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