The Recovery Model and Peers, Skill-oriented Evidence Based Practice
As a Certified Peer Support Specialist in North Carolina, I would say that my positive, sustaining, and rewarding work in the state-funded mental health system encompasses many of the incredibly positive changes that have taken place in formal structures of care. I facilitate recovery education classes, such as the Evidence-based Practices of Mary Ellen Copeland's WRAP and Wellness Management Recovery. The students that participate at the Recovery Education Center often enter our doors in a state of crisis. They are some of the bravest and most resilient people I have ever known. Having access to Peer Support and to positive curricula that were created by or with the help of people with lived experience creates a learning environment characterized by strengths, humanity, and validation of the worth of one's experience. Countless expensive and traumatic hospitalizations have been avoided, lives have been saved. As someone with 23 years of experience as a "consumer" in "the mental health system" I have had the gift of an opportunity to shift my thinking about myself. I am not a Patient anymore. I am a Peer. I think my own recovery began with that shift in perspective.
There is, of course, so much work to be done still. However, there is HOPE.
Jennifer Hoff commented
If you really care about saving lives quit hiding the fact that severe mental illness is being ignored.
Outreach and WRAP and FSP and blah blah. Where is the MEDICAL CARE for severe mental ilness?
Our bi polar son has been talked AT his whole life... Why the ignorance to the facts??? Treatment for Severe Mental illness has been written off and burried under a ream of progress notes. As a health educator I am embarrassed that my associates and peers here seem to have forgotten this is a chronic illness not a character defect. As a parent I am beyond angry at a system so puking with money yet still has people sleeping in the gutter being ignored.
Where is everyone's moral compas?
Good for you Faith! I am glad that you recovered. In upstate NY, we have paid peers and
volunteer peers. I think by not "being on a bureacratic payroll" that I can speak and write
more honestly. However, I think peers, doing equal work, should be paid fairly. Again, we have
to remember we are all on the same side.