Peer support specialists are important members to the faculty of mental health, addiction and substance abuse services. Peer support specialists relate to patients in a way that they can understand. The most important factor between peer supports and clients is trust. After going through rough times in life, trust can be especially hard to establish.
A wellness center can often offer a spectrum of individual and group activity based on need. Peer specialists often run these centers. A peer specialist provide their own experiences with the given circumstance to help achieve a level of recovery by being a role models for others.
A wellness center focuses on holistic health approaches. These methods allow individuals to provide stories, to learn and share coping mechanisms. The intent is to establish a sense of self worth, confidence, and balance in their lives through psycho-educational groups.
Below are examples holistic focused wellness classes:
1. Wellness recovery action plan: developed by Mary Ellen Copeland, is an evidence-based program that presents day-to-day coping and wellness strategies for those experiencing/experienced mental health difficulties
2. Personal action toward health: developed by Stanford University to help those with chronic diseases: mental health, substance abuse, cardiac problems, or lung disorders
3. Writing groups: expression through writing as a coping method
4. Art classes: use visual creativity to express feelings and to cope
One-on-one services have been proven to help individuals, but so do group settings. Utilizing peers, those who have gone through similar experiences, makes one feel less alone. A support system is beneficial. I would suggest searching local areas for peer support groups for help during times of struggle.
One outcome of wellness centers, or support groups, is the self-confidence to find a job and maintain employment. Specialists help individuals identify strengths, skills and interests, and offer a plan to find the right job, whether full time or part time. Specialists help develop a resume, train for interviews, and help fill out applications. In addition, transportation that may have been an issue, no long will be.
Maintaining the job requires on-site coaching and training, a follow-up from a peer supporter and maintaining communication with management.
It is difficult to overcome mental illnesses or substance abuse. Peer specialists are there for help. If you know someone struggling with getting back on to stable ground, connect with the community for outreach programs, group support systems or counseling for obtaining and maintaining jobs.