39 minutes | Nov 10, 2020

Episode 17: Lived Experience series (Part 4), Peer Workers and Mental Health Recovery

Peer workers with lived experience provide an important complement to the psychosocial support teams delivering mental health services.  They improve the recovery orientation of mental health services, by offering genuine and authentic engagement with the people who use these services. This results in a reduction in hospital admissions and reduced load on other practitioners. 

For many people, peer workers with lived experience offer an improved experience of mental health treatment, care or support because they bring their own stories to their work.  Their depth of understanding of the challenges of mental illness creates real empathy with clients, and also delivers unique insights to their co-workers who don’t have lived experience.  Most importantly, peer workers with lived experience are role models for recovery.  By sharing their journey of recovery, including strategies and techniques that sustain a balanced mental health, these role models exhibit positive, sustainable, and successful recovery.  

In this episode of GET REAL: Talking Mental Health and Disability, Karenza Louis-Smith talks with Grace and Donna who work at ermha365 as peer workers, with lived experience of mental health challenges. She is joined by Sharon Sherwood who leads all of ermha365’s mental health programs and services. 

As ‘Ambassadors’ of recovery, Grace and Donna talk about ‘owning’ their mental illness – the first step to reducing stigma. They also talk about getting the right kind of support that suits you; the value that peer workers bring because of their experience; and the great rewards they receive as peer workers by being able to helps others on the road to recovery. 

For mental health support go to:

ermha365 - https://www.ermha.org/mental-health-services/

SANE Forums - https://ermha.saneforums.org/

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