Peer support is a form of encouragement, advice, and emotional guidance provided by someone who has had a similar experience. This “been there, done that” perspective can provide a unique and significant type of support from someone who truly understands the successes and challenges that a person is facing. The sharing of experiences, wisdom, and knowledge creates a foundation for a relationship that genuinely inspires and cultivates breakthrough.
What Does Peer Support Look Like?
At Zumbro Valley Health Center, peer support is set up to supplement a person’s treatment plan. This key element of support can be provided through phone calls, text messages, group meetings, home visits, going on walks together, or even performing household chores together. Ultimately, the goal is to fill the professional service gaps, and put an emphasis on the art of connection over shared pain and joy.
What Qualifies a Peer Supporter?
Based on conversation, dialog, and mutual understanding, peer support can be provided by anyone who shares a common experience. Although it can be, this relationship does not always need to be on a professional level. Peer supports can be members of group therapy, a friend met via online support groups, or a friend or family member. A peer supporter should have:
- The ability to talk the talk and walk the walk – displaying living proof of wellness, recovery, change, and growth.
- The willingness to be a companion, an advocate, an inspiration, and a cheerleader.
- The ability to listen and be prepared to help resolve roadblocks and provide resources.
- The desire to be a role model for self-advocacy and self-sufficiency.
Advantages to Peer Support
Significant value can be found in sharing with people who have conquered similar mental health challenges. Peer support provides a safe space for a person to feel more equal to their mentor, this encourages a deeper and more therapeutic bond. Peer supporters have genuine, authentic empathy, as well as the grounds to be an inspiration through personal empowerment – ultimately making the person feel less alone.
By sharing their own lived experiences and guidance, peer supporters provide a significant level of acceptance and care to those in need. The mutuality promotes connection, harvests impactful relationships, and inspires hope. If you need a peer supporter or feel called to walk with someone on their recovery journey, please reach out to Zumbro Valley Health Center at 507.289.2089 today.