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Finding Her Role through Peer Support

Melissa knows firsthand how peer support can make all the difference in a person’s recovery. Two years ago, she finally felt ready to begin her job search after not being employed for many years. Through the support of Vinfen, Melissa realized that helping others with psychiatric conditions would be a great job for her.

Recovery Coordinator Adam Whitney, who first met Melissa in a peer  group, recruited her to speak on a panel for new hires at Vinfen. Meanwhile, many people at Vinfen suggested the Certified Peer Specialist Training, a program that teaches peers how to provide guidance to others who have psychiatric conditions. It was during the training that she first endeavored to write her story. “It was me being me, being honest,” Melissa said. “It was the first time I owned my story.”

Not only did Melissa obtain her certification, she is thrilled to be joining Vinfen‘s Quincy Recovery Learning Center as a Recovery Youth Leader. Despite past setbacks, she is  achieving her dreams and is inspired to help others do the same.

The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health has replaced Community Based Flexible Supports with a new model, Adult Community Clinical Services (ACCS). ACCS places a greater emphasis on peer support like Melissa received and offers others support in their recovery journeys.

“Our experience providing services to thousands of people in recovery for over 40 years has taught us that folks need three things: social connection, the confidence that they have the strength to cope with their struggles, and encouragement to strive and try new things,” said Vinfen Senior Vice President of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Susan Abbott. “Peer support helps with all of those things, and we are strengthening our peer support resources to people receiving ACCS since July 2018.”