We are very excited about the initiation of our Peer Support Program which began early in 2019. Peer support providers are individuals who have been successful in their own recovery process and who help those experiencing similar situations. Through shared understanding and respect, peer support providers are particularly effective in promoting engagement in the recovery process. As peer support providers can extend the reach of treatment beyond the clinical and residential settings into the everyday environment, they have a unique role in decreasing relapse and supporting a sustained, successful recovery process.
Our two peer support providers, Tucker and Robert, have varied roles determined by the needs of our clients. They engage in a wide range of activities as determined by client interest; these may include individual meetings on site or in the community, participation in residentially-based activities, and serving as a co-leader in different therapeutic groups. This program is a part of the clinical programming at Averte, and peer support providers engage in weekly clinical supervision and collaboration with the clinical team.
See below for a brief introduction from each of our peer support providers:
My name is Tucker, I’m 23 years old. In 2013 just after graduating High School I fell into a psychosis that left me hospitalized and derailed my life. I was unable to continue my education and I fell into depression. I lived for a year with suicidal thoughts, anxiety, delusions, and hallucinations when I was hospitalized again. After this I entered the care of Merry Meadow (now Averte) which marked a turning point in my life. After living there for 5 months I found the right medication and with the help of therapists, family, friends, and the great people working there I started to feel clear and finally healthy. Since then I have moved forward, looking at life with potential rather than fear. Outside of Averte I live on my own and hold a job in my family’s machine shop. I also volunteer for New England Disabled Sports, a program that teaches people with a wide range of disabilities how to ski, bike, golf, and many other things.
I discovered Peer Support after talking with Liz, one of my therapists from my time living at Averte. I can relate to what it is like to live there and deal with difficult symptoms, but I also see a life outside of treatment.
In my recovery I have found things to keep me both spiritually and physically fulfilled. I love reading, music, painting, and playing games. I also have found exercise greatly helps manage negative symptoms and side effects. Mountain biking, skiing, hiking, and rollerblading all help me get this much needed exercise. I think it’s important in my Peer Support role to find mutual interests and activity to help fill the mind with something positive.
I will be at Averte at least a couple times a week to connect with peers and do groups. Tuesday mornings I participate in a Metacognitive group which is focused on thinking about our own thinking patterns, particularly when it comes to psychosis.
Sundays at noon I lead a writing group. Writing is one of my passions and something that I think helps my mental health incredibly. The writing group is for anyone who would like to have a safe group of people to share ideas, material, and encouragement. Each week group members are welcome to share something they’ve been working on with the other members. Those who share can request any level of feedback, whether that is help with proofreading, some constructive criticism, or anything they might want help with. There is no pressure to share, the group is mainly about enjoying the company and thoughts of other writers. Any level of writer is welcome, whether you just want to start journaling or writing lyrics, or you want to work towards publishing something. Each week we also take some time to write something then and there which we are then welcome to share as well. There are no time limits and it should never feel like homework! I particularly enjoy science fiction, poetry, and comedy so every week I’ll try to write something a little bit weird. We meet every Sunday at Noon in the big room at the main house in Bradford.