The Power of Peers
by patricia.deegan on Saturday, October 22, 2016 - 9:33am

Peer support is powerful.  Even when we share our stories of hope through videos, they can help a peer in need.  I'd like to share a story that came in to PDA (Pat Deegan & Associates) from a staff person who was providing coverage in a CommonGround Decision Support Center while the peer staff were at a training.  But first some background:

Each month we create a new homepage in our CommonGround software and in Recovery Library.  In October our homepage theme was Double Trouble: Dual Recovery.  It featured a number of vidoes of peers sharing their story of dual recovery, including a moving story from Sarah about overcoming shame.  Here's a photo of the homepage:

It turns out that Sarah's video story was very helpful to a peer Sarah had never met in person.  Here's what happened:

Hi PDA!  I wanted to take a minute and send you an encouraging story so that you will keep doing what you're doing, because it's impacting lives tremendously.  Yesterday I was (working) in the DSC.  I ran into a client I have known for years and I knew he was struggling.  I'll call him John (not his real name). John had a very traumatic thing happen recently that has impacted his mood and he has been depressed.  When we reviewed his CommonGround Health Report together I noticed that he indicated he had thoughts of harming himself and others.  John has a strong connection with God and so Sarah's video, "Ashamed No Longer" popped out to me. John watched it.  About mid way through he got really excited and said, "She's like me! I decided I wanted to live just like her!"  After John finished watching the video we talked a bit more and he was very encouraged that there was someone out there who felt the way he did.  He left different than he came into the Decision Support Center.  He seemed happier and lighter.  Thank you PDA for doing what you are doing.

Wow!  This is the purpose behind all the work we do here at PDA.  It's also a testament to the generosity of peers who are willing to tell their stories of hope and struggle to our video cameras so that others might benefit.  It's so wonderful to be reminded of the power of our stories to ignite hope in our peers.