What is Peer Support?

By:  Gretchen Behimer, Project Director, Clermont FAST TRAC 

In this issue of the FAST TRAC newsletter, the Peer Support Partner program is highlighted.   If you  asked Jean Houston and Brenda Cox , Co-Founders of Families Connected, 3 years ago if they ever thought they would see the day where families, youth and professionals are working together so closely, all for the same purpose, I bet they would have said, “No way.”  This has always been the dream of Jean and Brenda, something that they have worked tirelessly for, but wondered if they would ever see the fruits of their labor.  Well, I believe that they would honestly say that we have come a long way in the last couple of years in regard to having families as an active part of their child’s team and sitting at the table, along with the professionals, giving input and information to workgroups and Family & Children First Council.

It has been a pretty amazing transformation that our county has begun and much of the credit needs to be given to the Peer Support Partners.  So who are the Peer Support Partners, you ask?  They are parents of children with behavioral health challenges.  They have worked to navigate the various systems (i.e. mental health, schools) and have done so successfully.  I like to say that they have “Been there, done that.”  Sometimes this is the best way to provide support to someone else, just by sharing some of the same experiences.