Approved for 2.5 CECs by the New York Peer Specialist Certification Board.

This training empowers participants with a comprehensive understanding of the federal legislative and administrative processes. This training aims to demystify the workings of the federal government, providing participants with essential knowledge about how laws are made, the roles of elected representatives and senators, and insights into key agencies such as Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), the Administration on Community Living (ACL), and the National Council on Disability (NCD). This knowledge is essential for NYCPS to effectively navigate the complex landscape of mental health policies and advocate for the needs of individuals they support.


  1. Introduction and Welcome (15 minutes)
    1. Importance of Understanding the Federal Government for NYCPS
    2. Overview of Learning Objectives
    3. Setting the Context: The Impact of Federal Policies on Mental Health
  2. How a Bill Becomes a Law (30 minutes)
    1. Overview of the Legislative Process
    2. Understanding the Role of Congress in Lawmaking
    3. Case Study: The Journey of a Mental Health-related Bill
  3. Elected Representatives and Senators (30 minutes)
    1. Introduction to the House of Representatives and the Senate
    2. Identifying NYCPS’s Representatives and Senators
    3. The Role of Constituent Advocacy in Influencing Policy
  4. Overview of Relevant Federal Agencies (1 hour)
    1. SAMHSA: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
    2. ACL: Administration on Community Living
    3. NCD: National Council on Disability
    4. Interactive Discussion: Understanding the Roles and Functions of Agencies
  5. SAMHSA and Mental Health Initiatives (30 minutes)
    1. SAMHSA’s Mission and Key Initiatives
    2. Mental Health Programs and Services
    3. SAMHSA and Peer Services
  6. ACL and Community Living (30 minutes)
    1. ACL’s Mission and Focus Areas
    2. Programs Supporting Community Living
    3. Peer Services in the Independent Living Movement
    4. NYCPS’s Contribution to Community Living Initiatives
  7. NCD and Advocacy (30 minutes)
    1. NCD’s Role in Promoting Disability Rights
    2. Advocacy Initiatives and Recommendations
  8. Navigating Federal Resources for Peer Support (15 minutes)
    1. Identifying Federal Resources for Mental Health
    2. Q&A Session: Accessing and Utilizing Federal Resources
  9. Conclusion and Next Steps (15 minutes)
    1. Recap of Key Learning Points
    2. Encouraging Active Participation in Advocacy
    3. Feedback and Evaluation


  1. Understand the legislative process and how a bill becomes a law.
  2. Identify elected representatives and senators representing their constituencies.
  3. Recognize the roles and functions of key federal agencies, including SAMHSA, ACL, and NCD.
  4. Gain insights into SAMHSA’s mission and mental health initiatives.
  5. Understand ACL’s focus areas and programs supporting community living.
  6. Familiarize with NCD’s role in promoting disability rights and advocacy initiatives.
  7. Explore NYCPS’s potential contribution to federal initiatives in mental health and disability advocacy.
  8. Access and utilize federal resources for peer support and mental health initiatives.


This 2.5-hour training session aims to equip NYCPS with a basic understanding of how the federal government works, understand the federal legislative process and contribute to the improvement of services and support for individuals facing mental health challenges.