Over the course of my career in peer support, I have always been on the lookout for resources and ways to connect with other peer specialists. This was all done with the hopes of becoming the best peer support specialist I could be.
Maybe that sounds cheesy, but it’s true.
I searched for websites, forums, books, you name it. Unfortunately, I never really found what I was looking for. Sure, there was some good information out there, but it was mostly aimed at individuals looking for peer support specialists.
I wanted something for peer support specialists.
More specifically, I was looking for something that could provide guidance, insight, and relevant information I could use in my daily work. Not only that, but I was hoping to find curriculum and material that fit the scope of peer support.
There is plenty of stuff out there related to psychology and counseling, but its not what I needed.
Don’t get me wrong, its super interesting and I was able to use bits and pieces. Still, it seemed like far more work that it needed to be.
That’s when I decided to just create that resource myself.
I decided to create the ultimate resource for peer support. I would cover all the relevant information that someone would need to get started. Plus, it would provide information on discussion topics, group activities, as well as tips and tricks for working in the industry.
Best of all, it would be a place for peer support specialists to connect with each other. A place where we could come together to learn and share our stories while providing support and encouragement. I had it all planned out and I was excited to get started.
Unfortunately, I very quickly learned that trying to do this by myself was going to be far more than I could handle.
So, I teamed up with a few other peer specialists and even found a licensed mental health counselor to jump on board and help me make it happen.
The MHAPSS Peer Support Team
Our little up and coming team, as of now, consists of 3 Peer Support Specialists, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and a girl named Carrie. We are all working to bring this thing to life and are excited to support you in you in the process.
If you have comments or suggestions for how we can improve the platform, we want to hear about them. If you’re interested in joining our little project or becoming a contributor, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Additionally, we would love to have you as part of our community. We have a newsletter that covers interesting facts about mental health and addiction, discussion topic ideas, check in questions, and useful resources.
Join the MHAPSS community and get a free resource to help you plan your discussions!
Big Dreams for The Future
As mentioned before, right now we’re still learning to crawl as it were. That being said, we are hoping to turn this project into a peer run organization that focuses solely on the well-being and advancement of peer support professionals.
Currently we’re building an extensive library of information and knowledge pertaining to the field. It will cover everything from ethics and core competencies, to training and group facilitation. Basically every thing you need to know about working in peer support.
Have you ever found yourself trying to decide what to discuss in group and coming up blank?
So have we. (It sucks)
That’s why, within that library will be a collection of group discussion topics that are ready for you to use.
Unlike other pages that just give you the topic and call it a day, these will be in-depth and complete. It will provide relevant check-in questions and ideas so you can the discussion deeper. Plus, there will be additional material to help you build the lesson.
To take it one step further, we want to add downloadable worksheets to accompany those discussion topics. That way there is no more looking for peer support curriculum and only finding stuff that falls outside of your scope.
Currently, I am using some of these worksheets in my own groups, sort of like a test run. So far, we have got some really good feedback on them and people find them useful.
One of the many things we are excited about is “peer of the month”. Soon, we be adding a section that highlights someone doing incredible things in the field! (If you fit the description, send us an email and tell us about yourself!)
Aside from that, we have a bunch of projects lined up for the future, podcasts, training videos, books… Like we said, big dreams. So, stay tuned and make sure you sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know!
We Need Your Help
Ok, so we totally get it. We’re sitting here telling you about all these big plans and some of them aren’t even available yet. What’s up with that?
Well, there are a few reasons.
One, we’re just super excited. (sorry, not sorry)
Two, we want to make sure it’s something people would be interested in. Before we sit down and put in the hours, not to mention money, we figured why not just throw it out there and tell people about it. All the plans are in place but we didn’t want to get started without your approval.
So if all this sounds like something you might find helpful, would you do us a favor and let us know? You can leave a comment, sign up for the newsletter, or send us an email. In any case, we will take that as a yes and get started making things happen.
"Nothing About Us, Without Us"
Speaking of not wanting to do this without you, are you interested in partnering with us on this project?
We firmly believe that peer support is a community and that we do better when we are working together.
We would love to get to know our peers from all across the world!
As we mentioned before, the end goal is to build a peer run organization that caters to peer support professionals. Just because we are in a helping role, doesn’t mean that we don’t need others there to support us.
We want to build relationships with others in the peer support community. That way, this platform can better serve the needs of all peer support professionals. In other words, this post is an open invitation to anyone who thinks there is a need for such an organization.
A Final Note to Say Thank You
So, in a nutshell, this is where we are and where we hope to be. Thank you for taking the time to get to know us a little better and we wish you the best in your own peer support journey. Also, thank you for doing what you do.
As the world spins madly on, there is a need for people to step up to the plate and help those around them.
If this is you, then you are amazing.
-The MHAPSS Team
Elijah Meason is a Certified Peer Support Worker in the State of New Mexico. He is a SMART Recovery facilitator and is working toward getting his Masters degree in social work. He is currently working at a dual diagnosis treatment center helping individuals overcome mental health and addiction challenges.