The Minnesota Women’s Press recently featured an editorial by Melissa Hensley, associate professor of social work, on the value of peer support to reduce stigma in social service settings. The essay was part of a larger issue dedicated to stigma and addiction.
Hensley, who also serves as field director for Augsburg’s bachelor of social work program, spent many years as a provider of services to adults with serious and persistent mental illness in a residential setting.
“Peer supporters, who use their own experiences with addiction or mental health to help guide others, are an example of person-centered care … [They] fill gaps in traditional mental health services by providing essential knowledge about the recovery process, such as how to cope with symptoms, develop healthy relationships, and balance employment,” she writes.
“Social workers like myself need to understand that our role is not to “fix what is wrong.” People do their own healing, and our job is to offer tools and resources.”