Mental Health Programs
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Education & Training

Peer Counseling Program 

Module 1:  Introduction to Peer Counseling
Following an introduction to cultural competency the majority of the course is concerned with building effective communication skills, with a special emphasis on listening skills that are that are so integral to peer counseling.  This course is highly beneficial  for anybody with a mental illness, whether they intend to pursue peer counseling or not.  Frequent role plays are utilized to develop clients' abilities for effective interpersonal relationships.  

Module 2:  Peer Counseling and Case Management

This course is primarily concerned with culture and mental illness.  It looks at the cultural variations in understanding what we in the West call mental illness.  Additionally, race and ethnicity in the United States are are considered in terms of access, diagnosing, treating, and outcomes.  Material is also presented that compares treatment and outcomes in the West to those in the developing world.  The manual also includes material on ethics and note-taking. 

Module 3:   Introduction to Abnormal Psychology

This course deals almost exclusively with abnormal behaviors and how in exaggerated forms they may lead to clinically significant mental disorders as they are described in the DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual). This is a surrvey course highlighting the most prevalent diagnoses, describing the current research on causation and briefly outlining types of treatment available. Cultural differences in diagnoses are surveyed.

Module 4:   Introduction to Psychiatric Medications

This course presents material on psychotropic medications from a first exposure (ie., introductory) perspective.  The material is not subjective with respect to individualized cause and effect, but is clinical connecting behavior modification and pharmacology.  The material introduces classes of medications coupled with types and classifications of mental disorders.  The main objective of the course is to introduce symptom management with pharmacology. 

Module 5:   Advanced Peer Counseling/Case Management

This advanced course offers introductory information about Axis I and II diagnosises, how they are presented in the DSM, and how they are diagnosed, coded, classified, managed, and treated.  It also offers sudents the various positions on a treatment team, in order to understand how a client treatment plan in developed and implemented.

*Community Action Marin and Marin County Community Mental Health award certifies upon the completion of each course.

The first module allows the student to be trained and creates eligibility to become a Peer Counselor at places like the Enterprise Resource Center, Linda Reed Activities Club and the Warm Line.  Upon completion of the second module, the student is eligible to become a Peer Case Aide at one of the agencies with which Community Action Marin has a contract.  Completing the third and fourth modules opens positions of Peer Case Manager; and completion of the fifth course allows the student to become eligible for a Senior Peer Case Manager position.  (Note:  Sometimes hires are made based upon the requirement that the employee take the requisite classes as soon as they are offered.)  The introductory course and the second module run for twelve weeks, twice a week for two hours each.  The other three modules are also twelve weeks long in, meeting twice per week for one and three-quartes hours.   The total training can generally be completed in a little over two years.

Completion  of the following modules enables the following:

Module 1                  Peer Counselor

Module 2                  Peer Case Aide

Module 3 and 4       Peer Case Manager

Module 5                  Senior Peer Case Manager


For further information please contact:
Barbara Coley         415-721-2232 

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