What is Peer Network Indiana?

Peer Network Indiana is a place for peers to connect with one another, connect with employers, and develop their skills as peer support specialists.

Peer Network Indiana provides a variety of resources geared towards peers and the great work that they do in their communities across Indiana.

What is a Certified Recovery Specialist (CRS)?

A certified recovery specialist (CRS) is an individual who can use their own lived life experiences to help others (peers) through treatment and toward the path of sustained recovery from mental illness and/or substance abuse. A CRS must have firsthand experience with a mental illness and/or substance abuse challenge as well as have lived in recovery for at least one year. CRSs work very closely with case management staff in order to assist clients in maintaining long-term recovery. The primary focus of a CRS is maintained support in the recovery process.

CRSs enhance the effectiveness of treatment in the health care system.

They assist consumers in the following ways:

  • Provide outreach during early recovery
  • Co-develop a personal recovery plan
  • Articulate personal goals for recovery and holistic steps toward long-term recovery
  • Assist in accessing community resources
  • Create smooth transitions in level of care changes to ensure a continuum of support
  • Guide and educate through the recovery process
  • Engage in the recovery community
  • Promote accountability and provide support before, during and after treatment
  • Advocate for needs and community education about mental illness and substance abuse
  • Facilitate recovery support groups
  • Shared problem solving to identify and overcome barriers
  • Explore and apply personal strengths
  • Build positive social skills through role modeling


CRS certification involves a five day training, where participants are taught the skills they need to know to effectively mentor their peers; there is an exam at the end of the five day training that tests the knowledge participants have gained. Once a participant has passed the exam, they receive a formal state certification. Peers who complete and pass the CRS training also become certified as CHWs, as the CHW training is included in the 5-day CRS training.

What is a Community Health Worker (CHW)?

The CHW is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables the CHW to serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence or service delivery.

CHWs must complete a 3-day training in order to become certified. CHWs are not required to have a lived experience with a mental health condition or substance use disorder.

If interested in the 3-Day CHW Training, please read more about the application process here.

Who is Mental Health America of Northeast Indiana?

Mental Health America of Northeast Indiana (MHANI) is a non-profit organization located in Fort Wayne, IN. Our mission is to promote the mental and emotional health of our community by offering advocacy, education, support services, and hope. We envision a community that embraces individuals with mental health challenges, promotes recovery, and fosters wellness.