Peer Support Groups
No two peer support groups are the same—each is as unique as a snowflake or a finger print.
A peer support group is a regular gathering of men and women with the lived experience of mental illness and/or substance use. Usually once each month, these individuals come together, overseen by a Kentucky Certified Peer Support Specialist, to talk with one another about their experiences, struggles and challenges. The support group becomes an anchor for them as they recover from their illnesses and develop skills to live more effectively in their communities. A peer support group is a freeing experience, as these individuals realize “I am not alone,” and hope and trust grow between them.
Most adults with mental illness aren’t used to talking about their conditions in social situations. But a peer support group, possibly unlike anywhere else for the participants, is a judgment- and stigma-free zone, so they’re more open to sharing. Participants also know that they’re equipped to offer advice to each other and help troubleshoot problems because of their shared lived experiences. Who better to offer inspirational, candid messages than someone who’s been there?
“You are not your disorder.”
“You are a person, not a problem.”
“Your condition does not define you.”
These opinions are best received when coming from people who have walked in those shoes and seen the world through those eyes.