National Mental Illness Awareness week was Oct. 6-12. Given that one in five Americans will experience a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime, this is an important issue. While treatments such a psychiatry and therapy are familiar to most people, I am writing about a growing service in Iowa known as peer support. A peer is a person who has lived experience with a mental health condition. Many peers are being formally trained and state certified to support others in their recovery.
It is often easier to open up to someone who has been through similar experiences on a journey from illness to wellness. I am pleased to see that the mental health field is recognizing the value a trained peer support specialist provides. I am also glad the Club 520 Wellness Center, run by the Abbe Center for Community Mental Health, offers these services. The Abbe Center will be hosting an open house on Thursday from 1-5:30 p.m. to unveil the peer support services offered.
This program can do much to aid those with mental health challenges in their recovery.
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