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Peer Support Specialists Inspire Hope Through Their Own Hardship

Patrick Hendry is a pioneer in the peer mentoring field who has spent three decades promoting the benefits of peer support in the behavioral health workforce. He has witnessed the problematic medical model that too often demoralizes or dismisses the needs of mentally ill individuals. Peer support workers develop meaningful rapport with their peers by telling them, I’ve been there too!

As the Vice President of Peer Advocacy Supports and Services for Mental Health America, Patrick has used his own lived experience with a mental illness to help others who are starting or continuing their recovery journeys. Patrick delivers training and national advocacy projects for peer specialists and professionals with a focus on human rights, social inclusion, peer support, peer services, and self-directed care.

After founding the first contracted peer-run center in the state of Florida, Patrick gained notoriety as a major voice in the peer movement. He has been awarded honors from SAMHSA, Mental Health America, and the National Council for Behavioral Health for his professional dedication. Mental Health America is the oldest mental health educational organization in the country.

Peer support jobs offer those who are dedicated to their own recovery a role that celebrates stories of inner resilience. Having tackled their own mental health challenges, peer specialists are in a unique position to use their journey as a source of inspiration. Peers move the emphasis from hopelessness to hopeful potential. Patrick talks about the progress the peer movement has made, including the groundbreaking use of peer support in police departments throughout the country.

Living with a mental illness is never easy, but Patrick makes it clear that an illness does not define who you are. Patrick empowers peers to stick together, use their recovery stories as a collective strength, and to create a new image of mental wellness. You can learn more about Patrick, Mental Health America, or his pathway to peer support here.

By: Michael Tugendhat, MLitt

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