Been there! Done that! I am undertaking a new challenge in my life, working as a Certified Peer Support Specialist for the local community mental health center. Kansas is one of the pioneers in developing the program, which empowers recovering consumers to assist others in meeting daily and lifetime challenges.
The program is underwritten by the federal Medicaid program and administered by state Social and Rehabilitation Services. Here, an outreach program through Wichita State University provides the necessary training and continued support.
Not only does Peer Support provide a valuable service for those in need, it further allows personal growth through working with others. Peer support lends an ear to those who would otherwise internalize their fears and frustrations. Some consumers, for a variety of reasons, lack the resources necessary to experience true happiness. These consumers may visit with a psychiatrist and therapist once a month, but their involvement with recovery ends there.
That is where Peer Support comes into play. Through trips to clients’ homes or visits to the local art gallery the client becomes involved in social interaction. This is a very important process in recovery–at all stages.
I most certainly look forward to the challenges ahead of me. The new position is taken with a great deal of appreciation for those who helped me in my daily recovery from bipolar disorder. Kudos to the system! It really can work!