Wellness in Peer Support

This is the second webinar in the Enhancing Capacity for Personal Wellness series. Presented by Johanna Bergan of Youth M.O.V.E. National and Dr. Peggy Swarbrick from the Program to Achieve Wellness, the presentation elaborates on the roles and expectations of peer support. Peer support is a system of giving and receiving help among people with shared experiences. During this webinar, Dr. Swarbrick and Ms. Bergan reflect on the multidimensional nature of wellness; recognize peer support requires empathy, reciprocity, and respect; and propose the eight dimensions of wellness as a framework for approaching well-being holistically.

Peer support doesn’t come without challenges and may require a great deal of emotional energy from both parties. This presentation suggests ways to maintain personal wellness while also being a peer supporter for someone in recovery or maintaining their wellness. Personal wellness in peer supporters will begin to falter if compassion fatigue presents itself, negatively impacting not only the peer supporter but those they support. Compassion fatigue can be experienced by peer supporters, caregivers, and family members. Focusing intently on the needs of others may sometimes cause us to neglect our own needs. Maintenance of personal wellness and regular self-care practices can reduce the likelihood of compassion fatigue or burnout. Identifying our needs and strengths as prevention or treatment for compassion fatigue can promote personal wellness and establish a healthy balance through self-care and being a self-advocate. Affirming our strengths can help bolster self-confidence and emotional wellness. Recognizing our needs and allotting time to tend to these needs or to reach out to our support networks can promote personal wellness. When we are well, we have more to offer to others who need support.

This webinar is part two of four. Watch the rest of the series: Part 1 | Part 3 | Part 4.

This resource was first shared in 2017.

(Presentation, YouTube)

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