Cathy Cave: Welcome everyone to today’s webinar. This is a first in a series. My name is Cathy Cave, and I’d like to welcome
everyone and to think about Wellness in Peer Support. In our panel today we have Peggy Swarbrick
who is the creator of the eight dimensions of wellness and a senior consultant with SAMHSA’s
Program to Achieve Wellness. We have Johanna Bergan who is the executive
director of Youth MOVE National. We have Tiara Springer-Love who is a youth
advocate coordinator for Families on the Move in New York City. We have Beth Mangiaracina who is a trainer
for the Mental Health Impairment Project of Albany, New York. My name is Cathy Cave and I’m the co-director
on SAMHSA’s Program to Achieve Wellness. So, welcome. So, the views expressed today during this
training do not necessarily represent the views, policies, and positions of the Center
for Mental Health Services, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
or the United States Department of Health and Human Services. So, today in Module 1 on the Wellness in Peer
Support we’re going to have an overview of our content for this whole webinar series,
and we’re going to hear from some peer supporter voices who are people who are actively engaged
in doing this work. The goal of our webinar series is to offer
suggestions of practices and strategies for maintaining personal wellness for family members,
caregivers, and peer specialists who are involved in the work of supporting others. The strategies can be applied in different
environments. So, we have peer-run and family-run organizations. We have community mental health centers, and
people can apply these strategies at home. So, as we’re thinking about our approach to
the work of supporting others, we asked everyone to think about how you can apply this information
to your life and your work and support in your work of supporting others. I’m going to turn the program over at this
point to Peggy Swarbrick who is here with us today, and if folks could just bear with
us for a minute, we’re having a little bit of technical difficulty. Dr. Peggy Swarbrick: Hello, this Peggy Swarbrick,
and thank you very much for listening in on the Wellness in Peer Support, Enhancing Personal
Capacity for Wellness today. I’m really excited to be here and to talk
to you a little bit today with our colleagues here to really understand really some of these
strategies that can really enhance our capacity for doing the good work we do. What we wanted to start out with was a definition
of peer support, and really one of the strong foundations of the work that many of us do
in the work of peer support is based on the work of Sherry Mead with Intentional Peer
Support. We really find that her definition and her
work is really very central, and so we wanted to put up this definition, that peer support
is a system of giving and receiving help among people with shared experiences, based on respect,
shared responsibility, and mutual agreement of what is helpful. I think what you’re going to learn through
this series and today and the follow-up is to really understand this definition and how
it really actually plays out in a variety of ways, many different ways, direct one-on-one,
could be in groups, can be on the phone. Peer support is delivered in many different
ways and again in a variety of settings. It can be in traditional, non-traditional
settings, and really what we see more and more its non-traditional settings, in the
places and spaces that many people find are more comfortable and really where a lot of
good work around helping enhance recovery and wellness can happen for people. So, we wanted to just start off with that
and to just highlight that. The essence of the peer support relationship
is again really important. It’s about relationships, folks connecting
with one another providing this peer support. As a peer, many times what we think about
on terms on what is our peer-ness, it’s about having shared experiences, and there’s a variety
of types of experiences that people share amongst each other, but a lot of times the
idea that we want to be thinking about is the sharing of things that we have a similar
connection around, many times a challenging situation. Basically, one of the things we want to think
about is how we work through connecting on that challenge, but then how we overcome and
where we can help to learn from each other to help one another to transcend those challenges
and really again enhancing our personal capacity for wellness, which is the theme of this series
is how do we enhance our strengths, enhance our skills, build that resilience to help
one other. So, as a peer, there’s that shared experience. Similar life experiences as well as challenges,
and it’s the challenges and how we creative ways been able to overcome those things really
makes that foundation of that relationship. One thing that is so essential when we think
about the peer support relationship, what makes this so very different is that partnership
and that equal playing field that people are on when they’re doing this work, that we really
are more on an equal playing ground when we’re dealing with the connection with people and
not being in this hierarchy relationship with people and telling people what to do or feeling
as though we have this wisdom and power that we can impart to people. It’s around sharing each other’s experiences
and helping the person to come to that understanding of what their strengths are, what their ways
of coping, and what their ways of moving forward in their life. So, really, this is so important, again not
only about the peer piece that we think about, but the support piece. It’s having that empathy and that connection
because of those shared experiences and those shared circumstances that we have had often
maybe not so good, but how do we look to the resiliency of one another and provide that
encouragement of one another. Not direction or advice or telling people
what to do, encouraging people and helping people to assist them on things that they
think is helpful and that they are seeking the help for. So, it’s really learning about what would
be helpful for someone and helping to provide that support in a way that they see has helpful. It’s really the other piece that makes this
very different than traditional work that we do, in terms of our peer support work,
is that reciprocal relationship. It’s much more reciprocal, because there’s
a learning process that’s going on together, that we’re learning from one another and keeping
that openness. That we go in there to help activate that
strength in the person that we’re supporting and that were connecting with and it’s a reciprocal
process in terms of this relationship. So, when we think about peer support, I think
it’s important as we start to really lay the ground to better understand this whole focus
of the next couple of webinars, we want to really have a good framework around the definition
of peer support and really most important essence of the peer support relationship,
which other colleagues are going to really talk about this much more. Now, what we’re going to do, is we’re going
to hear from Tiara. Tiara Springer-Love: Can you hear me? Okay, I think I’m talking. Dr. Peggy Swarbrick:
Yes. Tiara Springer-Love:
Okay, because I’m just like talking to myself. Hello everyone. So, as Peggy just lovely stated, yes, that’s
exactly what the essence of peer support is, and peer support has been something that’s
been extremely instrumental for me to maintain wellness and provide effective peer support
in my role as a youth advocate coordinator. Some of my lived experiences within the mental
health field as well as the foster care system, and it was hard. So, growing up my mom focused a lot on finances,
spirituality, physical wellness, but mental wellness was not something that she entertained. So, I grew up in a family where mental illness
wasn’t even a word that we talked about. I had behavior challenges, and my mom felt
as though it was something I was doing to get attention, and she didn’t really realize
the effect that being in foster care really had on me, especially with the role genetics
played in my family. So, by 10 years old, my school counselor,
she suggested that I get mental services, and it was something my mom was not open to,
and by 13 I had my first suicide attempt and by 14 I was finally receiving the appropriate
mental health services. It took a four-year gap before I knew that
I wasn’t the only person in life who had my same lived experience. That experience was not effective going to
therapy; however, my mom did place other protective factors around me. So, she got me into tennis, and she got me
into dance, and I was part of a community support group with girls who were going through
similar challenges that I was going through, and that was where I learned core values and
skills on how to necessarily become a woman. These programs, they didn’t have labels. They preached about overall wellness and balance. While I was in this rites of passage program,
I learned about goals, and I didn’t necessarily have any goals at 14, but one thing that gave
me hope was to graduate high school. So, graduating high school didn’t seem like
a solid goal, because I would have been the first out of my biological siblings to graduate
high school. So, graduating high school to me seemed as
though it would have pretty cool. It would have been okay, but once I was able
to find balance and actually obtain that goal of a high school diploma. It definitely instilled in me a sense of empowerment
that I hadn’t felt before, and I don’t think that would have been a goal if it hadn’t been
for the peers that my mother surrounded me with. So, I graduated high school. I maintained this balance, and then that balance
helped me with identifying emotions. Once I was able to identify emotions and obtain
this high-school degree, I then went to college. I didn’t learn how to process my emotions,
but I was able to identify them. Through my process of going to college, I
was able to get my degree. I have a BA in psychology, and in that moment
I enrolled myself back into therapy at 19, even though it was something my mother didn’t
agree with, I knew that this was something I needed to maintain balance and to accomplish
whatever my next goal was going to be. So now I’m in graduate school, and I’m getting
my master’s degree, and the tools that I have acquired just through the goal of having
balance has definitely helped me when it comes to achieving wellness and when it comes to
just maintaining my role was a peer youth advocate. So, now that I’m a youth advocate coordinator,
I provide the same support to the youth advocates who are providing the service. Another piece that I discovered was how important
having support was for me as a child. So, as I’m getting older, I find myself recreating
the support systems that I had when I was younger in order to still seek out those peers
so that I can get different perspective about things, especially being in school and becoming
a professional and not feeling lost anymore. I just remember being in high school feeling
lost, and now that I’m exploring adulthood, peer relationships are the ones that allow
me to keep on going and maintaining, whether it be from school or whether it be at work
and finding those peers at work who I have trusted relationships with and especially
my relationship with my supervisor where I’m open. I’m honest. I’m transparent. It helps me to maintain my role as a youth
advocate so as far as mental illness is concerned, therapy for me is the same way people go to
the gym to maintain their physical wellbeing, or they see a financial counselor to maintain
their finances, I have a tendency to go to therapy to maintain my mental wellbeing. So, for me, as you can see on the slide, wellness
is key, and I maintain my wellness by maintaining balance and accomplishing goals. So, thank you. Dr. Peggy Swarbrick: Great, thanks so much,
Tiara, for illustrating really many of the things that we’re going to be talking about
and many things that we know about peer support and the value of the support and the relationships
and really how, what I think is so critical in this is focusing on the wellness. Focusing on your wellness, how that builds
your capacity for you to take care of yourself, to build yourself, to become who you want
to be and what you can realize your potential for other things in your life through those
goal setting so that you are able to then provide that peer support for others now,
and really kind of give that back, that reciprocal, really, passing it along, sharing, building. Again, connection is essential for the sharing
amongst those kinds of things and learning from others, learning from yourself, and now
you’re giving that back. I think that is one of the things we see is
so powerful in the peer support relationship, and then some of the research on the peer
support is that giving back and the power of that, how that helps activating and helps
continue to keep through our journey of recovery. The lived experiences. So, many people could have looked at that
story, your story, and look at it from a case study perspective. We’ve all seen these case studies and we hear
that case study or that story. We heard that story from you that you shared
of overcoming those adversities that really you looked at the strengths. You found those things that you could do for
your wellness that built that resilience, kept that hope alive, and kept that foundation
for that peer support. So, I think really your story, your sharing,
your voice has really given us a lens to really understand and knowing what peer support is
and what it can be, and the real important value. So, we’re going to hear now from Johanna and
really thank you so much, Tiara, for sharing. Johanna Bergan: Thanks, Tiara and Peggy. This is Johanna Bergan, and I’m the executive
director of Youth MOVE National. MOVE standing for Motivating Others to Voices
of Experience, and our work is really to connect young people who have lived experience in
behavioral health and special education and child welfare so that they can have peer support
and peer experiences within their community. Through my work at Youth MOVE, I’ve been able
to spend so much of the last couple of years really supporting the development of youth
peer support across the country. Peggy and Tiara, I loved hearing what you
were saying, and I’m so excited that I can bring the perspective that I’ve been learning
from these peers to this series, because Peggy, just like what you just said, we have found
over and over again when we can invest and care for ourselves while we’re in the role
of peer, that really allows us to truly offer support to others. So, this series focusing on the wellness of
youth peers and our role is incredibly important to our work. Two important pieces for our discussion today
and really throughout this series as we talk about practicing and promoting wellness in
the work of peer support is the practice of cultural responsiveness and the practice of
trauma-informed practices. I’m going to spend a couple of minutes talking
about those two things now. So, what does it really look like if we are
practicing wellness in a way that’s responsive to the diverse culture that we each bring
to this work and what does it look like if we’re able to embody and promote trauma-informed
practices as we care for our own wellness and as we support those in the work with us. So, any wellness practices that an organization
we work for may present or practices that we choose to add to our life must encompass
the diverse cultures we each bring to the table. We are such a diverse movement and such a
diverse workforce, and our wellness practices should reflect that. Our wellness practices will look so differently
so diverse across our work. Really, as we’re creating a culture of wellness
in our practice and work environment, in our community, we really need to honor the cultural
perspective we each bring in order to be well. This means that we have to create very specific
space to have conversations about what does diverse wellness practice look like and how
can we cultivate and nurture that? I think that this starts very early on in
the process, even as we talk about what is our definition of healing. What is our definition of wellness? What does recovery mean to us? That we can’t make an assumption that we have
a common understanding of what this means. My experience is that what recovery means
varies from individual to individual. I think an example of that is when I have
the opportunity to work with youth and young adults and ask them what recovery means, it
can be a very complicated conversation, I think, because as a young person when we think
about recovery or returning to something, we’ve had a short life, right? We may actually be looking forward to what
we going to grow into? What will our wellness journey look like in
the future? So we may think about a resiliency journey
or a wellness journey and have to really think about how to encompass the recovery language
into our work. So, a consideration like that when we work
with a new population of young adults is one way that we can start reflecting on how we
define wellness and recovery together as we start this important work. The other thing that I think we really need
to consider early on as we create cultures of wellness is the impact of trauma. So many of us have experienced traumatic experiences
and luckily, I think we’re a part of a workforce in a time where we are as a whole better able
to identify traumatic experiences and to reflect together of what that means in our individual
wellness and within our work. So, as we work on wellness individually and
within our organizations and communities, I would uphold that we need to think about
trauma-informed practices as a core component of building wellness. I think that those of us on the call today
will really see the value of peer support, know that we are very capable of changing
the conversation from what is wrong with you to what has happened to you? When we’re able to make that shift at the
core of trauma-informed care, we’re able to support each other on a very different wellness
journey. I think that if we can hold throughout this
webinar series and the work we do each day in developing wellness within ourselves and
within those we support, if we can hold the importance of cultural responsiveness and
trauma-informed practices, we are building a really strong base for us to move forward
from. In our work to develop content for you all
today, I think for me it’s been very important to look at the overlap of these areas. It’s been important to think about in our
day-to-day work how we can recognize the differences and the sources of our pain and of our journey,
and how the sources affect how we craft a wellness plan and a wellness journey for ourselves,
and that it is incredibly challenging, if not impossible, to separate sort of long-term
suffering related to prejudice and trauma as we talk about wellness. SO, if these aren’t a part of your conversation,
I’d invite you to join with us for this series as we think about and explore practices that
allow this to be a part of our work. So, each of us, I think, can apply this in
a couple of ways. So, Cathy started us off talking about all
the different environments that these wellness ideals and practices could be utilized, and
they can start at home. They can start with us. So, Tiara, if we follow you down the path
that you laid for us, that peer relationships are what help keep us going and helps us find
and stay tuned into the balance we need across all the dimensions of wellness, then we can
really start thinking about what is my cultural approach to wellness? Am I acknowledging my spiritual needs, my
emotional needs in my wellness plan? While we are caring for ourselves and maintaining
our own wellness, we’re then able to pass on at a much greater capacity that support
in that empathetic mutual relationship that we’re able to develop as youth peers. I think that one thing that has been very
powerful in my own wellness journeys is that finding my voice and realizing that being
able to share my own experiences in the mental health system in a way that had value for
others was a huge part of my own realization that I was even on a wellness journey. That really until my voice was heard, I wasn’t
able to clearly articulate what I would feel like or what my life would be like in a well
space. This, I think, is common across the youth
experience of our network. So, really thinking how you become your own
self-advocate and how you can advocate and speak up for yourself is the first foundation
step of being able to be a part of a well community and to be able to support others
around us that will peer relationships with and being well as well. So, really carrying with us that we will always
need to be our self-advocate and that will need to stay at the center of our important
work throughout is a core part of wellness. I think as we are self-advocates for ourselves,
we are then able to serve as models and to be able to open the door and have conversations
with those that are in peer relationships with us. I think it is important also to acknowledge
that there can be a disconnect for those of us that serve and formalize peer roles within
an agency for us to think about how and where our we are own self-advocate voice, when do
we need to be speaking up for ourselves and when is our voice at the table to be speaking
on behalf of those that we support and work with. That either/or conversation brings a lot of
challenges for us to stay well in our peer roles at work. So, I’d like to be part of the work that your
organizations and your communities are in to have that be a both-and conversation, that
we need to be able to present at work each day in a way that advocates and meets our
personal wellness needs first and that thus allows us to do our work really well and really
effectively. So, I think we need know from individual journeys
and experiences that are focused on our own wellness can help strengthen our ability to
do our work and to offer peer support in the best way possible, and that we also know that
there is a such a mutual benefit to those that we work with every day when we’re able
to model a focus on wellness. Tiara, as you said, a focus on balance in
our lives. So, I’m excited to participate in this series
throughout and to continue to explore these opportunities with you. I’m also really excited that you’ll be able
to hear from Beth today, and she’s going to reflect on the role of self-awareness and
empathy with us today. So, Beth, can I hand it over to you? Beth Mangiaracina: Sure. Thank you. So, this is very exciting to me to be a part
of talking about self-awareness and one of the things that I’ve always focused on, or
not always, just very recently I focused on my self-awareness to support what I do in
peer support. When i became a peer supporter and a trainer,
I came with 100% behind me the values of peer support, but as I began working in peer support,
I discovered something about myself that brought more awareness to my own needs. So, one of the things that I wanted to mention
is that my agency, Mental Health Impairment Project and the supervision that I’ve received
over the last three years has been one of self-exploration and the permission, the ability
to self-advocate and use my voice has been developed. One of the things that I appreciate is that
we develop our skills and talk about our strengths in supervision. So, I’d like to tell you a little bit about
what I do now for self-awareness that supports me in my peer support and training and also
in my personal life. It’s a beautiful thing. So, one of the things I do is I do a self-check-in
when I’m beginning a training or I’m talking to my partner or I’m doing one-on-one peer
support, I sort of do a positive intention for the meeting or the training. In that intention, I think about what I want
to offer to the other person to support them. I want to offer good listening and open up
my curiosity to the person and what they may be saying, and at the same time, I want to
make an intention to take care of myself to listen to my body and see what I need for
myself in the relationship. Another thing that I do, is I remember that
one of the most important things to me in peer support and in my own feelings is connection
with people. It’s kind of goes with boundary setting, because
what I discovered was I need to connect with people so much, that in the past I would look
for a connection by doing work for other people, by offering to help, by fixing for people
and in my awareness of myself and the work that I’ve done in supervision and through
just experience, I’ve learned to use my voice like Johanna said and set goals like Tiara
said and reach out to my co-workers and my supervisor for support. So, I use my voice now to ask for support
and ask for help, and what I discovered in doing that was a flourishing of connection
with people. I discovered that I needed to bring myself
to the relationship on a more vulnerable level and say what I need and express my beliefs,
and what happened was some beautiful relationships have developed in trainings, at work, and
in my personal life. So, that’s one of the steps I do. Number four is that I am very aware of my
self-judgment and that it can be very harsh. I don’t know if that will ever go away, but
what I’ve discovered through awareness, self-awareness, is that I tell myself to look for the evidence. Like, if I’m being hard on myself about a
training or maybe I said something that I don’t think was helpful, I look for the evidence. Without a doubt, it’s usually very positive
feedback that I get. So, that I realized that I do have strengths. So, I focus on my strengths rather than what
I may have done wrong, and it’s a very conscious decision to say, well, what’s the evidence? Let me stop judging myself as hard as I can. The last thing I do is, I scan my body for
peaceful moments. I do deep breathing, and I ground myself by
maybe taking a rock and holding it in my hand and feeling that rock or sitting down and
looking at the wild flowers or even when I’m driving, looking at the trees and the mountains
around us and kind of balance myself and center myself and notice the beauty of the present. What I’d like to share with you just to end
is that it hasn’t been automatic. It’s something that the deep breathing and
the self-awareness is something that I am developing over time, and it’s become very
automatic. Every day in every way it builds towards connection
with people, the self-awareness. So, that’s about it. Thank you. Dr. Peggy Swarbrick: Great. Thanks, Beth, and I think really hearing the
stories and the voices of really peer supporters in the work that you’re doing and the practices
and how you really look at your own wellness and how we become reflective and become self-aware
is a real big theme that we’ve heard today and we’ll continue to hear. Now as we move, to think about this idea of
how we can enhance our personal capacity for wellness and how we have had two really great
examples that we’ve heard today, we want to talk about whose responsibility is it for
wellness? When we think about the work that we do, as
we talked about that these strategies that we are talking about can be applied in different
environments, whether it’s the different places and spaces where we’re working, we want to
be thinking really about kind of three different areas. First of all, responsibility. Responsibility has to do with the accountability,
control, and decision-making that duty. So, whose responsibility is it for wellness? We’re looking at individual and organizational. So, the individual thinking in terms of the
series and the context of our work as peer supporters and also the responsibility of
the people that we’re supporting. So, we want to be keeping that in our mind
as we think about how to apply the things that we’re talking about today and in the
next couple of weeks. You know, the individual, the peer supporter,
and the people we’re supporting. Then, how it fits into the organizational
structure of the places and spaces where we’re working, living, and learning, but particularly
where we’re working and the organizational structures that can really help build this
culture of wellness. Later in the series, we’re going to hear about
that, and we have a whole session that’s focused on building an organizational culture of wellness,
because it’s not just the peer supporter that is to do this work. A lot of times I’ve heard this in my work
around the country and my work on the East Coast. It’s the responsibility of the peer to bring
the wellness, and then its heavy load to carry. It’s got to be something that we look at together
for everyone to be thinking about the wellness lens and how do we bring about. A peer support may take a lead on this and
have more of the skill and the experience in this, but we have to share this organizationally,
and we want to think about that. What are the ways we can build this into the
culture? I think one of the things that we think about
in terms of responsibility for the wellness and how we can do this on an individual level
or the peer supporter role is the things that you’ve heard in this presentation about self-awareness
and self-reflection, and I think that whole self-awareness that you heard in both Tiara
and Beth’s, it’s constant self-awareness, being aware of and then making that connection
around, okay, how is this going to work me and helping yourself to come into the work
in a way that’s mindful and respectful of the person you’re supporting but then that
self-awareness of promoting that in others, because that’s really going to be the gift
and the skill that you’re going to teach others to be able to do their own work for their
own wellness and continue their recovery journey. So, really, really important to be thinking
about this is not just on the peer supporter for wellness, the responsibility needs to
be shared, and it’s a sharing with the person you’re supporting or you’re working with. But then there’s also this organizational
structure and this organizational culture that we want to build on as we move forward
in trying to help enhance the capacity for wellness that peers do. The next thing I just wanted to focus a little
bit is, again, personal capacity, and I think this is a really important focus here is to
think, and you heard wonderful examples in our voices that we’ve heard today, of how
we come to this with a holistic approach, looking at the wellness being the focus for
the work that peers do. In thinking about the physical, spiritual,
social, emotional, intellectual, occupational, environmental and thinking about these areas
as seeing ourselves and seeing our recovery in our moving forward in terms of thinking
about from the lens of these eight areas in our life. We’re going to go into more detail on these,
but I just wanted to highlight that wellness isn’t just this endpoint that we get to and
we accomplish, but it’s constantly being self-aware, self-reflective. When we think about wellness, it’s a conscious,
deliberate process where we become aware of and we make more choices for a lifestyle or
a life that we want. We heard that. We want to have a life that we have goals. We have dreams. We have aspirations. The wellness framework gives us a way to look
at the different facets of who we are. We are all made up of these different areas
that we have a physical need and thinking about those and anytime those become really
important for being alert, being conscious, being focused, and being energized to do the
good work that we do. So, it’s being aware of these different areas
that we start to look again the strengths. I really think that, that’s so important,
because if we think about each day, if we were to look at each area, there is something
that we’re doing each day, even though we want more, perhaps or we have aspirations,
we probably are doing something to keep ourselves getting through the day that’s meeting our
need in terms of the different areas of wellness. We are definitely doing something. One of the things we want to be thinking about
and one of the strategies we’ll talk about is how do we become self-aware and self-reflective
of our strengths in these various areas and then how do we help others to become more
aware of their strengths and help to build their capacity, build their resilience to
keep moving forward towards the things that people want in their life. So, keeping the lens of wellness really helps
to bring that hope, bring that focus forward, and again when we think about it fits into
peer support that system of giving and receiving help with shared experiences based on respect,
shared responsibility and a new mutual agreement of what is helpful, this really helps give
us the lens to talk through and help one another share those experiences around our wellness
or how we are moving forward towards the different wellness goals, and respecting where people
are. Many times people get really- in many ways
we define and operationalize these areas are so different and having that curiosity to
learn what another person sees how they’re going to build their spiritual dimension,
being open to it, not saying I do it this way, you need to do it that way. Openness to learn from one another is really,
really central to this. Again, finding a mutual agreement is what’s
helpful, especially when we know something is worked for us in some area, continue to
make that work for us, but then being open to help people to explore for themselves what
will really help them in these different areas of wellness. So, I think one of the things that I find
that’s just so fascinating about this work is that when you go in with people and sit
down and start to have really honest conversations, you come out even further along, because you
learn so much from other people. I know in my own work in this, I’m just always
open to learning more from people, and it really then in turn really has helped me to
move forward in many of the areas that I’ve been trying to work on in my own recovery. So, enhancing personal capacity really will
be around focusing on these areas of wellness and we’re looking forward in the next couple
of modules in the next couple weeks going in more deeply to this. So, I’m going to turn it back to Cathy now. Cathy Cave: Go ahead to the next slide. So, thanks everyone for participating in our
webinar today with us. As Peggy was mentioning and as we’ve been
talking about, this is the beginning of a series. So, Module 2, which is next Monday is Wellness
in Peer Support and we’ll be talking more about kind of the tips and strategies, more
detail about wellness, how to bring that into both peer support and family support and also
helpful in caregiving. So, there’s all kinds of resources and things
that we’ll talk about to shine a light on wellness practice as it benefits us as we’re
doing our work. Module 3 is about building an organizational
culture for wellness. That will be focusing on how our organizations
where we’re working in the practice of peer support can be supportive and offer wellness
tools and tips that can be sustained during our workday. Then, Module 4 will be about incorporating
reflective practice. Those are strategies to increase self-awareness. We wanted to take some time to answer any
questions that are still in the chat box. If anyone has anything new that you want to
ask questions about. I know that folks here have been responding
to things during our time together. One thing as you all are thinking about your
questions, I will just respond to a comment. While Beth was talking, there was a mention
of kind of the intersection as peer support providers or family support providers, youth
advocates and caregivers, there’s a benefit to us in actually offering that kind of support. So, in our days that are stressful and our
days that where we’re questioning whether or not this is a good idea, a good fit, or
we’re just not feeling like we have the answer, it’s really again checking yourself first
and what is it that I need to bring to the conversation. How do I set my own intention, think about
my own balance and needs? And then how do I offer in peer support what
I intend to offer? So, I’m not getting caught up in either saying
too much or overextending my boundaries. It’s really thinking about what do I need
in this moment to offer the best possible support to others? Whether that’s youth, families, other adults,
really thinking about that, and that in the offering of peer support there’s benefit. It’s different than saying, Oh, I’m involved
in peer support with a group of people, and I’m going to put them into my wellness plan. That’s not what I’m suggesting. I think what we’re saying here is that offering
support to others in of itself is beneficial and feels good and provides an outlet for
our experience, strength, and hopes, but it also means that we have to take care of ourselves
so that we’re bringing the best of ourselves to those conversations. Are there any other questions that have come
up? So, one of our questions: Do you believe that
trauma should inform choices in who works with a particular peer? I think we have to be careful in assuming
that trauma is any one thing. Many of us, and depending on which study you
look at, studies will say that anywhere from 85 to 98% of people involved in the public
mental health system are trauma survivors. So, we can’t say with a blanket, well this
person has this particular trauma and therefore we need to have caution about who provides
peer support. I think what we need to be asking on an individual
basis, is sometimes people are more comfortable with someone who’s male, someone who’s female,
someone who understands transgender issues. We may be thinking that someone can tell us,
I want to work in a group rather than one-on-one, because that feels safer. Someone may say, I want to meet, but I only
want to meet in these kinds of locations, that it needs to be public, it needs to be
a coffeehouse, someplace where there’s lots of public interaction. Others will say I really want to work in private
spaces. So, we can’t use the term trauma as a blanket
for making decisions. IT’s really understanding each person and
what they’re hoping to get from peer support and family support and from youth advocates. We’ve got one more here. How many hours a week do peers typically work? How do you manage the reciprocal relationship
and professionalism? Are you discussing the billable type of peer
support services where there would need to be documentation? So, the reality is that peer support can be
offered in many different kind of settings. It can be paid or unpaid. It can be billed or not billed. So, it depends on what your organization is
set up to do. In our thinking about what’s a healthy, what’s
a workload that supports wellness? How do we think about the demand on peers
in work settings? Those are all really great questions and that
there are many, many answers depending on the setup of your organization. So, as we’re looking at in future modules
at organizational wellness tips, there may be some responses in that webinar that would
be helpful in answering the question. I would also invite people to listen in on
all of the future modules, because parts of this question are answered in the following
three. One is around wellness tips and tools for
individuals as we’re doing peer support. Another is around organizational strategy
and another is around reflection to enhance self-awareness and self-care. So, stay tuned for those and join us for those. Let’s keep thinking about resources that would
support the work that you all are doing. Just to wrap up, what we’re thinking about
in our future modules are all the things that you all have been asking questions about today. Thank you for joining us for this webinar
and hopefully you’ll join us for all of the webinars in our series. Thank you all very much.