Ramping Up Peer Support Services at ACMHS
ACMHS started offering regular peer support groups for adult clients at our Ingra location at the beginning of the year. Now peer support groups are also being offered at the Folker building.
Peer support is an evidence-based practice that has been shown to increase engagement in services and quality of life. It Helps keep mental health care costs down by keeping people involved in outpatient care and reducing the need for inpatient care.
Our peer support champion
At ACMHS, the push for peer support is led by Jen Galvan, the peer support specialist on our Residential Team. Jen’s passion for this work comes from her own experiences. She’s been hospitalized six times, and almost lost custody of her daughters. But she met “the right people at the right time, and they believed in me and that I could get to the next phase. So it’s about giving back. “
Groups for Adults
Jen created a schedule for groups that makes sense from her personal experience. There are open drop- in times on Fridays and Mondays, because often weekends are the toughest times. Pathways to Wellness is a group with some structure and curriculum, while the weekly peer support group is a loose support group, with opportunities to check in. These groups are open to all adult clients.
Including children & families
In the children’s continuum, peer support staff will be available to as a resource for clients and their parents – sharing their experiences and connecting client families to helpful resources in the community.
Quality of Life
In doing this work, Galvan doesn’t focus on recovery, because “it never really goes away.” Instead, she focuses on “wellness and maintenance” – to help clients live their best quality of life with their mental illness.