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Peer Support Trainings

Find the list of upcoming trainings below:



Spring 2018 Training: Iowa City

Phase 1- Online learning 

Opens February 12, must be complete by April 13, 2018

(15-20 hours of online learning must be successfully completed before acceptance to Phase 2)

Phase 2- In-person Training

April 24-27, 9 am to 5 pm

Iowa City

First Mennonite Church, 405 Myrtle Ave, 52246

You must attend the entire four days of in-person training.

Apply for training beginning February 1, 2018

Summer 2018 Training: West Des Moines

Phase 1- Online learning 

Opens April 2, must be complete by May 25, 2018

(15-20 hours of online learning must be successfully completed before acceptance to Phase 2)

Phase 2- In-person Training

June 4-7, 9 am to5 pm

West Des Moines

Link Associates, 1452 29th Street. 50266

You must attend the entire four days of in-person training.

Apply for training beginning March 19, 2018

Adult Peer Support Spring and Summer Training:


Diane Zaerr Brenneman, DMin, Family Peer Support Specialist, is the parent of kids with special needs.  She is happy to find a way to use her lived experience in coaching other families of kids with disabilities.  She has been a teacher, pastor, administrator and farmer (thankfully, not all at the same time). A thread that weaves through all is the amazing resilience of the human spirit. Children and their families truly can thrive despite what life has thrown at them. She feels privileged to walk alongside families in their journeys.

Martha Hanley MSW, Family Peer Support Specialist, is Program Manager for Family Engagement in the Division of Child and Community Health at the University of Iowa.  She is Iowa’s Title V delegate to the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) and has received training in AMCHP’s Family Scholar program.  She is chair of AMCHP’s Family and Youth Leadership Committee and family faculty in the Iowa Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Project. Among her 5 children and 12 grandchildren are some with mental health diagnoses.

Brenda Husman, BSW, MALS, MHPSS, PRS, is a Certified Peer Support Specialist working in an Integrated Health Home (IHH) in Northwest Iowa. Brenda’s experience in ministry, social work, healthcare and peer support allows her to view systems of care through a unique vantage point. She helps others through identifying sources of disadvantage, and helping them to eliminate barriers from a broad scope perspective. Brenda’s passion is to inspire others to see strength within them and discover meaning and purpose in their lives.

Sara Knox, MSW, MHPSS, is a staff person for the Iowa Peer Support & Family Peer Support Training Program. She has lived experience with mental illness, which helps her relate to people in many different states of mind. She spent ten years with The Crisis Center of Johnson County talking to people in crisis, offering unconditional positive regard, and supporting and training volunteers. She is also an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST) Master Trainer, where she has trained volunteers, mobile crisis counselors, police, and clergy.

David Lange, MHPSS, PRS, is a certified Peer Support Specialist. He worked for Hillcrest Family Services in Dubuque and while there, was a member of the Mobile Crisis Team. He is a WRAP facilitator and is excited to be able to help others with such a great recovery tool. David is very involved with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and served on the boards of NAMI Dubuque and NAMI Iowa. He shares his recovery story with their In Our Own Voice program. David is a state trainer and facilitator for NAMI Peer to Peer and their support group, Connection. He takes those programs into Iowa’s state prisons, training inmates to help their peers. David recently worked as Peer Manager for the Office of Consumer Affairs, an education and advocacy organization. He enjoys talking to students about stigma and recovery.


For more information or to request an application, please visit

What is Peer Support and Why is it Important?

Peer support is the process of giving and receiving encouragement and assistance to help others achieve long-term recovery. Peer Support professionals offer emotional support, share knowledge, teach skills, provide practical assistance, and connect people with resources and opportunities. This is an integral and invaluable facet in the recovery journey. Navigating the mental health system, advocating for your needs and finding the best resources can be a difficult process, but a peer support specialist uses their knowledge and experience to help those in recovery with their needs.

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