August 23 , 2021
Living with Serious Mental Illness and Alcoholism
THE IMMENSE VALUE OF PEER CERTIFICATION & THE WORK IT SUPPORTS
1. I've been working as a Trauma-Informed Peer Advocate, System Navigator and Educator for 12 years and am SO beyond-thrilled that the Herculean efforts of so many Peers around the state have finally yielded this state certification . I work daily throughout the whole mental health system (and all its ancillary stakeholder systems, too) and it is just...plain...broken. In so many ways and on so many levels, to the immense suffering of those who need services and also the constant overwhelm and exhaustion of the many incredible providers working in these systems as well.
Adding in more talented, passionate, well-trained Peer Support Specialists will EASE so much
of the burden in this system and save the lives of countless people like me. In my hardest, most
life-threatened crisis years, it was Peers, more than providers, who helped to save my life and
guide and invite me into a supportive healing and recovery journey that could work for me...that
still works for me. Lived experience is just solid gold in the trenches.
2. One more thought: it was also finding a way to value and contribute based upon my own
worst suffering, in the form of this work with others, that restored my fuller functioning and
also my sense of dignity and worth as a very injured human being.
Being a Peer Provider is joyful, fulfilling work, and not least because it transmutes the most
devastating experiences into real value for others I get to serve as a "wellness ally."
Peer Certification will allow MORE of us to re-find our strength, dignity, worth, and increased
resilience through this work, and it will provide formal training, mentoring and boundaries that
make this work the safest and most productive it can be for all involved.
Kalia Mussetter L.E. is the founder of Living Bridges. She has a BA in communication studies and multiple certificates in trauma informed care. She has served on the Sonoma County Mental Health Board, the MHSA workforce employment training board of California and serves now on the California Mental Health & Spirituality Steering Committee.
By Kalia Mussetter and Dr Gary Bravo
Glennon Doyle Melton is the author of the New York Times Bestseller, CARRY ON, WARRIOR, founder of http://www.momastery.com, and creator of http://www.monkeeseemonkeedo.org. Glennon believes that life is equal parts beautiful and brutal, and writes about the "brutiful" she finds in marriage, motherhood, faith, addiction and recovery. Glennon unleashes her wit, courage and irreverence to call us to accept ourselves exactly as we are today, but also incidentally inspires us to live bolder, more meaningful lives for others.
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