Vinfen is pleased to announce that Community-Based Flexible Supports Rehabilitation Specialist Joe Spinale has been honored with Vinfen’s 2017 Peer Leadership Award, in recognition of the outstanding support he provides to the people he serves and his significant contributions to the peer movement.
“Joe has consistently shown his advocacy for self-determination by partnering with the people he serves with patience and enthusiasm to make it easy for people to take charge of their own plans and treatment,” one of Joe’s colleagues said. “He shows mutuality and respect and is keenly aware of potential power dynamics.”
Joe worked in the field for many years before joining Vinfen a decade ago, but chose not to disclose his lived experience due to fear of discrimination.
“I cannot begin to describe how meaningful of a decision disclosing turned out to be. Within the peer community in Massachusetts and at Vinfen I have found people who share my passion for fighting for positive systems change. Even though a lot of works still needs to be done to create an empowering mental health service system, I am grateful to work at an agency that believes in recovery and works to incorporate empowering practices into the services offered,” Joe said.
He added that while he was honored to receive the Peer Leadership Award, he does not consider himself to be a peer leader. Instead, Joe describes himself as just one individual in a network of dedicated advocates promoting self-determination and fair policy for people with psychiatric conditions.
“I just care about treating people who receive services with dignity and respect and giving them control over how they use services. It comes naturally for me to try to use my platform as a Rehabilitation Specialist to talk about the issues I care about, and the issues that are important to the peer community,” Joe said. “For me this is what motivates me to come to work, so it is less about being a leader, and more about doing my part to contribute to the change I believe in.”