Where: Monroe Park, on the corner of Main and Laurel Streets
When: today, Friday 3/23 7-8:30pm
At our first meeting we discussed what we’d like to see happen in our communities in regard to mental health activism and self care in Richmond. A great discussion resulted. We decided that our first task is to have a peer support facilitation training session so that we can “force multiply” and spread these useful skills so that people all over Richmond can start their own support groups whenever and wherever they are needed.
Interested in getting involved in mental health activism in Richmond? Here’s your chance! This is for everyone–new and seasoned activists, new and seasoned folks to radical mental health, and folks that are interested in learning more. You need not have come to the first meeting to attend.
Folks with experience in facilitating weekly peer support groups will be facilitating this training session, sharing what they know, and answering any questions that people may have.
All ages, sober event.
Feel free to bring food or help us turn this into a potluck!
What is peer support?
Peer support for people with similar life experiences (e.g. people who’ve lost children, people with alcohol and substance abuse problems, etc.) has proven to be tremendously important towards helping many move through difficult situations. In general, peer suport has been defined by the fact that people who have like experiences can better relate and can consequently offer more authentic empathy and validation. It is also not uncommon for people with similar lived experiences to offer each other practical advice and suggestions for strategies that professionals may not offer or even know about. Maintaining its non-professional vantage point is crucial in helping people rebuild their sense of community when they’ve had a disconnecting kind of experience.
Peer support in mental health however has a more political frame of reference. Whereas some support groups form around the shared experience of ‘illness,’ peer support grew out of a civil/human rights movement in which people affiliated around the experience of negative mental health treatment (e.g. coercion, over-medication, rights violations, as well as an over-medicalized version of their experiences). Peer support has branched out and become a valid alternative to mainstream mental health.
Regular gatherings specifically for emotional support can be a great and empowering alternative to the shackles of professional and mainstream support groups. No one in the group is above anyone else: mutual aid means we listen to and support each other as a community of equals, without paid professionals or staff to define who we are.