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I really enjoyed Stephanie’s honesty and candor about her experiences. I thought it was especially moving that she was able to talk about her experiences in the context of a higher education setting. I believe strongly in the peer recovery support approach. I have worked with peer supports and have found their ability to connect without bias, judgement, and with lived experience invaluable. The medical model has it’s place and value however there is a sense of disconnect and distance for many as they try to navigate the medical model and the feeling that the medical providers may not fully understand the experiences of those they support. Stephanie talks about the importance of experiential knowledge through lived experience and normalizing the experiences. I thought it key as well that she mentions the value of being a helper and the connectedness and support being a helper can provide. It was heartwarming to hear her experience that she felt she was treated with dignity and asked what she needed rather than calling 911 when reaching out to peer supports.
I have referred individuals to peer support both in mental health and substance use matters. I have watched individuals become peer supports and moved from a provider for the individual to a partner in providing support and services for others. It has been an honor and needless to say I learn from peer supports with every interaction!
I am so grateful for the material offered in this course! I will certainly be thinking about many of the tools we have learned and will bring some of those experiences to my work including; helping individuals identify their own strengths, developing recovery plans and not just treatment plans, and talking about the value and support of peer support services.