Wellness Peers

Within the secondary setting, Wellness Centers in Ventura County utilize a "Peer-to-Peer" model. Students serving in these roles are termed "Wellness Peers". Peer-to-peer mental health support can be an effective strategy for supporting student behavioral health.

Peer programs can complement and strengthen traditional school mental health programs.

As youth move through adolescence, they increasingly turn to their peers for support, advice, and to talk through difficult experiences.

Peer-to-peer support models create supportive relationships between youth, and can be particularly helpful for youth who might be resistant to traditional behavioral health models.

Peer-to-peer programs can equip youth with essential accurate information on behavioral health, communication skills to talk with and support one another, and connections to mental health resources and trusted adults.

You can find more information on the Peer-to-Peer model at the California School-based Health Alliance website.

Why Peer-to-Peer Mental Health Supports?
  • Youth want to talk to other youth
  • WellPeer relationships are highly valued by adolescents
  • There is a critical need for more mental health supports in schools
  • Peer programs can increase equity in mental health care access and diversity in mental health workforce
  • Peer programs can have a double impact – benefiting the peer mentor and peer mentee
Pathway to Careers

 The Wellness Coach role is often a first-time experience for students with an interest in behavioral/mental health supports. Serving as a Wellness Peer can help students in learning more about careers in this domain and can also serve as a first step in a pathway toward a career in the field. Students who are interested in becoming a Wellness Peer should contact their school's Wellness Center Coordinator. Applications for the role are competitive and typically completed in the spring. 

Certified Wellness Coach

Interested Wellness Peers should investigate opportunities within the behavioral health workforce pathway which begins with the Certified Wellness Coach position. The Certified Wellness Coach role has two levels of certification: Wellness Coach 1, which is equivalent to an AA level degree and Wellness Coach 2, which is equivalent to a BA level degree. Both positions are a great way for interested students to enter into the behavioral health workforce and may lead to higher levels of certification, credentialing and licensure.

What is a Certified Wellness Coach?

The Wellness Coach role is a new, certified position to increase our state’s overall capacity to support the growing behavioral health needs of our youth. It is designed to help build a larger and more diverse and representative behavioral health workforce in California that has the training and supervision needed to engage directly with young people where they live, study and work.

Wellness Coaches will offer non-clinical services that support youth behavioral health and well-being, such as wellness promotion and education, screening, care coordination, individual and group support, and crisis referral. The model will supplement and support existing behavioral health roles, fill gaps in the current behavioral health workforce, and create a larger and more diverse workforce with whom youth can connect.

More information can be found at the Health Care Access and Information website.