Certified Older Adult Peer Specialists (COAPS) as Advocates for Recovery
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Expires on Dec 14, 2025
Credit Offered
1 CME Credit
1 Psych CE Credit
1 SW CE Credit
1 COP Credit

The number of older adults in the US is rapidly growing as the Baby Boomer generation ages. As many as 5% of these older Americans live with a serious mental illness (SMI), placing them at higher risk for co-morbidities such as dementia, substance abuse, and other lifespan-shortening concerns. Social isolation is also commonly experienced among older adults, may be magnified for those with SMI, and has been further exacerbated by COVID19. Support services to mitigate these risks are vastly under-developed, leaving older adults with SMI with limited access to care. The Certified Older Adults Peer Specialists (COAPS) program was developed to address this need by training Certified Peer Specialists as older adult behavioral health specialists and wellness coaches. More than 300 COAPS have been trained across 6 states and a range of care contexts to support older adults in recovery through crisis management, developing community roles and natural supports, advocacy, self-help and self improvement, and navigating healthcare and social service agencies. COAPS work as part of the healthcare workforce to support and advocate for older adults experiencing or recovering from SMI or substance use disorders, broadening ease of access to healthcare and social services. In addition, most COAPS are themselves older adults in recovery, which provides opportunities for further engagement in the workforce. 


Recorded webinar, non-interactive, self-paced distance learning activity with post-test.

This presentation was recorded on December 9, 2022.

Learning Objectives 

  • Identify the unique risks and needs faced by older adults who are experiencing or in recovery from serious mental illness 
  • Describe two ways in which the Certified Older Adults Peer Specialists program provides tools to improve access to care for older adults in recovery 
  • Discuss at least two benefits of recruiting Certified Peer Specialists to receive COAPS training 


  • Serious mental illness and co-occurring disorders among older adults 
  • Health implications of social isolation and loneliness 
  • Certified Older Adult Peer Specialists (COAPS) 
  • Utilizing COAPS and peer support workers  
  • Attendee Q&A 

Target Audience

Counselor, Nurse/Nurse Practitioner, Peer Specialist/Peer Support, Pharmacist, Physician (Non-psychiatrist), Physician Assistant, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Social Worker  

Instructional Level


Estimate Time to Complete

Estimated Duration: 1.0 hour
Program Start Date: December 14, 2022
Program End Date: December 14, 2025

Interdisciplinary Discussion Board

After completing the course, engage with colleagues in the mental health field through SMI Adviser's Webinar Roundtable Topics discussion board. This is an easy way to network and share ideas with other clinicians who participate in this webinar. Access through the discussion tab.

How to Earn Credit

Participants who wish to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™, CE credit for psychologists, CE credit for social workers, or a certificate of participation may do so by viewing the live presentation and completing the evaluation. Participants claiming CE credit for psychologists and those claiming CE credit for social workers, must have full attendance to claim credit. After evaluating the program, course participants will be provided with an opportunity to claim hours of participation and print an official CME certificate (physicians), CE certificate (psychologists), CE certificate (social workers) or certificate of participation (other disciplines) showing the event date and hours earned.

Continuing Education Credit


The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The APA designates this live event for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


The American Psychiatric Association is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. American Psychiatric Association maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Social Workers

American Psychiatric Association, provider #1743, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. American Psychiatric Association maintains responsibility for this course.  

ACE provider approval period: 05/18/2021 - 05/18/2024. Social workers completing this course receive 1.0 continuing education credits. 

Continuing education requirements vary from state to state. Many state boards grant reciprocity with national accrediting organizations and other state boards. It is the responsibility of each professional to understand the requirements for license renewal or check with the state or national licensing board and/or professional organization to become more familiar with their policies for acceptable continuing education credit. Social workers and Psychologists should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval.

Faculty and Planner Disclosures

The American Psychiatric Association adheres to the ACCME’s Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Medical Education. Any individuals in a position to control the content of a CME activity — including faculty, planners, reviewers or others — are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with ineligible entities (commercial interests). All relevant conflicts of interest have been mitigated prior to the commencement of the activity. 


  • Torrey A. Creed, PhD is an Assistant Professor and licensed Clinical Psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. There, she founded the Penn Collaborative for CBT and Implementation Science, which encompasses a large network of community partners, a program of training and implementation, and a rigorous complementary research agenda. As the Director of Clinical Implementation for Lyssn, she guides the integration of artificial intelligence-based supervision and competence evaluation tools into mental health training and routine care settings. Dr. Creed also serves as a health policy advisor to Partners in Health, with a focus on strategies to implement CBT and other EBPs in Haiti, Rwanda, and other low- and middle-income countries, and she serves on several scientific advisory boards to help improve the quality of public mental health care. Dr. Creed has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.  
  • Hilary Cantiello, MLA is Senior Research Coordinator and Project Manager for the Center for Mental Health, where she manages systems level evaluation projects and leads the Certified Older Adult Peer Specialist (COAPS) training institute.  Before joining the Center, she worked in Prevention and Intervention for a co-occurring program for women and their children in West Philadelphia. She holds a Master’s of Liberal Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, where she focused on maternal and child health. She is interested in trauma informed care, peer delivered services and community health services. Ms. Cantiello has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.  
  • James Klasen, CPS is a Certified Peer Specialist facilitator, Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator and Certified Older Adult Peer Specialist trainer. He brings over 40 years of experience in human services, including workforce development, mental and behavioral health. Jim has worked with youth, welfare recipients, persons returning home from prison, and persons impacted by trauma, mental health, and substance related challenges. Jim is a CPS and brings lived experience sharing his recovery journey openly as evidence that recovery and wellness are both possible and probable. Mr. Klasen has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.  


  • Teri Brister, PhD, LPC, National Alliance on Mental Illness. Dr. Brister has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.  
  • Amy Cohen, PhD, American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Cohen has no relevant financial relationships to disclose. 
  • John Torous, MD, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Torous has no relevant financial relationships to disclose. 
  • Sherin Khan, LCSW, Thresholds. Ms. Khan has no relevant financial relationships to disclose. 

Accessibility for Participants with Disabilities

The American Psychiatric Association is committed to ensuring accessibility of its website to people with disabilities. If you have trouble accessing any of APA’s online resources, please contact us at 202-559-3900 for assistance.

Technical Requirements

This internet-based CME activity is best experienced using any of the following:

  • The latest and 2nd latest public versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari
  • Internet Explorer 11+

This website requires that JavaScript and session cookies be enabled. Certain activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of the content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be:  Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player.

Optimal System Configuration:

  • Browser: Google Chrome (latest and 2nd latest version), Safari (latest and 2nd latest version), Internet Explorer 11.0+, Firefox (latest and 2nd latest version), or Microsoft Edge (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Operating System: Windows versions 8.1+, Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) +, Android (latest and 2nd latest version), or iOS/iPad OS (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Internet Connection: 1 Mbps or higher

Minimum Requirements:

  • Windows PC: Windows 8.1 or higher; 1 GB (for 32-bit)/2 GB (for 64-bit) or higher RAM; Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content
  • Macintosh: Mac OS X 10.5 or higher with latest updates installed; Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (867MHz or faster) processor; 512 MB or higher RAM; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content

For assistance: Contact educme@psych.org for questions about this activity | Contact SMIadviserhelp@psych.org for technical assistance

Funding for SMI Adviser was made possible by Grant No. SM080818 from SAMHSA of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, SAMHSA/HHS or the U.S. Government.
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