On Thursday April 27th, I shared with everyone my most recent presentation entitled “ Peer Support 101”
When trying to decide what topic to present for my next presentation, our President and fearless leader Miriam suggested that I talk a bit about Peer Support Specialists. As I had just finished my training as a Peer Support Specialist, I realized what a perfect idea that was.
I was very much interested in taking the training, and have been searching for a way to retire from my job of many years. I’ve also been looking for even more ways to give back to the community. I’ve made a couple of great friends recently, who are practicing Peer Support specialists, which peaked my interest even more.
So, what exactly is peer support? A peer support worker supports a participant on their wellness journey. A support worker does not “ help someone “ on their journey, we support them. We help participants by supporting them as they identify what their strengths are, and encourage them to make choices for themselves. We accept participants where they are in their journey, and we are partners to those we serve. Peer support services are are always chosen by the participants, and not by the peer workers.
Peer support recovery is focused on physical, psychological and emotional safety.
I also learned from my Peer support training, that the most important part of our job is self-care. Some agencies you may work for might require a self-care check-in every so often. I shared two things I do for self-care, which are joining my walking group on the weekends, and singing with my church choir.
If you become certified as a Peer Support worker, you will be advocating for someone in recovery, as we walk with people on their journey. You will also facilitate recovery groups, also help support participants in becoming reconnected in their community. In addition as a Peer Support worker, you support your participants to identify the stages of change, and also support them in the value of learning through shared experiences. You will also be involved in mentoring and supporting the participant when setting goals. In addition you will also support your participants in ordinary and extraordinary circumstances.
Another area of my Peer support training that I found beneficial, was when we discussed the importance of a safety plan. This is an important topic that you would discuss with a participant as part of your job as a Peer support worker.
Once someone has a safety plan created, they may even want to keep a copy on top of their refrigerator.
So, if any of the above sounds like something you might be interested in pursuing, how would you begin?
There are two different avenues in this area where you could take part in Peer Support training to become a Peer Support specialist.
1) Community Alliance offers a Peer Support program. If you are interested, you can contact Dr. Jai directly at 402-341-5128, or email Dr. Jai at Lsookram@commall.org
2) Or you can contact Well Being Initiative, which is where I completed my training. They can be emailed at Wellbeinginitiatives.org