Heartfelt Peer Support was created by peers, for peers. We consider a peer to be anyone who has lived experience with mental illness, substance use, addiction, trauma, loss, or any combination of the like.
We believe recovery is possible and can be best described by the working definition of SAMHSA. “Recovery is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”
Broadly defined, “peer support” refers to a process through which people who share common experiences, or face similar challenges come together as equals to give and receive help based on the knowledge that comes through shared experience (Riessman, 1989).
Through the site, you will see us refer to “peer contributors”. Peer Contributors are people in recovery who have graciously volunteered their time and energy to Heartfelt Peer Support in some way. They contribute stories, write blogs and much, much more. It is because of them; we get the support we need to maintain this space for our fellow peers. We appreciate them immensely.
Peer Support Specialists
Peer Support Specialists are individuals in recovery from mental health conditions, substance use, trauma and/or co-occurring conditions. They use their experience to help others seeking healing and recovery. Peer Support Specialists attend training programs to develop their skills in emotional support, advocacy, communication, and coaching. Through Heartfelt Peer Support, Peer Support Specialists have the opportunity to support others, and are encouraged to receive any support they need to maintain their own wellness.
Sometimes peers have an easier time sharing their feelings through creative mediums. Putting the “felt” in “heartfelt”, we often use puppets to express ourselves in a fun and unique way. Although we have created finger puppets specifically for Heartfelt Peer Support, we recommend peers find puppets that fit their own personality. This is a chance to be creative and bring out the Puppet-Peer in you.
On our site, you will find accounts of people who are living proof that recovery and healing are possible. These people have graciously offered to share their stories to help enhance hope, and remind us that we are not alone. Although many of our peer contributors have personal websites dedicated to sharing their recovery, we understand the importance of anonymity. For this reason, our peer contributors have the option to share their stories under a pen name.
We hold the value that multiple truths may be present in the same space. We hold this space by treating people equally, regardless of views, opinions, ideas, race, religion, or cultural differences. This value is further fostered by accepting individuals as they are, understanding that we each have a unique story, and by exploring our differences and similarities with love and non-judgment.
Many of our peer contributors are Peer Support Specialists who have been trained to facilitate groups. These individuals may offer groups that support wellness and recovery. Groups are currently held online in a HIPPA compliant room. Groups are available to fellow peers who agree to adhere to our Code of Conduct and our other policies.
The specifics of each group are determined by the curriculum and the Peer Specialist facilitating the group. As groups are available, they will be posted on the website and announced on social media.
Groups that are noted as "donation-based" run based on donations we receive from generous benefactors. We are grateful to these individuals for their support. It is because of them we are able to support others.
Once offered, a group will begin to run once 10 members are registered to attend. There may be a waiting period for the group to build membership.
Many of our Peer Specialists offer one-on-one support through their individual companies. If you would like individual support, please approach the Peer Specialist you feel comfortable working with. They will be able to give you the information for their pricing and policies.
We foster a community of support and trust. For this reason, confidentiality is required by all participants.
One of the major principles of peer support is that it is self-driven. This means individuals define their own goals and unique paths for wellness. To participate, someone must choose this for themselves. Once someone decides to engage in services, our goal is to support the individual on their path of choice.
Participants must be 18 years or older.
As peers we do not offer medical advice, or treatment of any kind. Instead, we offer hope, support, and shared experience. Anyone needing medical assistance or advice, should seek out the proper professional. If you are in crisis, please contact a trusted doctor, crisis line, mental health facility, or call 911.