Peer support specialists — those individuals with lived experience of mental illness and/or substance use disorder (SUD) — have been well-established in behavioral health interventions.
Their shared experience provides the credibility and understanding that help individuals with mental health and SUD challenges on their road to recovery.
Within hours of being at the Washington Hilton, I knew I was in for a special experience.
As I began to set up Beacon’s booth at the 2017 National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Annual Convention, I couldn’t help but notice the hopeful faces all around me.
As a Beacon Health Options Peer Support Specialist raising a child with multiple disabilities, I never fully grasped that recovery is an inside job – until I had to recover myself.
Many Beacon locations employ peers, people with lived experience of mental illness or substance use disorder, to empower the individuals we serve to live their lives to the fullest potential. We might help them to navigate the health care system, or to define their own paths to recovery.
Why do some people visit the emergency room more than others? Further, what can clinicians, specifically, and the community, generally, do about it?
These are questions a Beacon Health Options (Beacon) pilot program at its Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership wants to answer. Through my work as an intensive care manager (ICM) in the Hartford area, I can suggest some solutions.
Achieving positive psychological growth from adversity Behavioral health was an issue we avoided during my 20 years as an Army Infantry officer. It wasn’t until I began working for a national behavioral health company nine years ago that I understood the value of timely behavioral health care for our military. Through Chris Kyle’s story, America saw three key elements of behavioral health support that can lead not only to recovery but also to growth for an individual exposed to extreme physical and mental trauma, often referred to as post-traumatic growth. For many, that education came overnight. One recent box office hit gave more than 25 million Americans a realistic view of the importance of behavioral health support for the recovery…
Many of us have experienced some traumatic event in our lives when a friend, close relation, spiritual leader or therapist has been very helpful. With their help, we’re often able to bounce back from life’s many traumatic events. That’s the essence of resilience. However, for those living with mental illness, sometimes it’s not that simple. Often, they need someone who has been there, which is where peer supports come in. Let me tell you my story to illustrate. There is a saying I later learned: seduced by the illness. I could actually see myself being magnificent in my defeat. At one point in my life, I considered myself a proud warrior. An officer in the world’s finest navy. The first…