HCRS peer support services enhance recovery process




SPRINGFIELD, VT – Health Care and Rehabilitation Services (HCRS), Vermont’s second largest community mental-health agency, is now offering peer support services as a way to enhance the recovery process for clients receiving services through their Adult Mental Health and Addiction Services program.

The Peer Support team is made up of people who have life experiences that help them relate to feelings of oppression, marginalization, stigma, and hopelessness. Their first and primary role is to participate and facilitate access to genuine and mutually transformative relationships. This means showing up as their real selves, sharing their life stories with clients when it makes sense to do so, and explicitly aiming for a dynamic in which both parties are actually learning and growing.

Secondly, through workshops, trainings, consultation, sharing of resources, and conversation, the Peer Support team introduces and increases access to a diversity of ways of thinking about and responding to distress. There are many ways that people make sense of the experience we call mental illness.

HCRS’ Peer Support team has created a four-month peer support internship to begin in January 2017. The internship will provide an opportunity for community members to gain skills to help them more confidently and skillfully support others and prepare them for employment in peer support or a related field. Psychiatric survivors with strong relationship skills are desired. Interns will receive training and a small stipend. For more information on the peer support program or internship, please call (802) 886-4567 ext. 2625 or email peersupport@hcrs.org.

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