We need each other.
This lesson is taught to me over and over again.
Especially when it comes to mental illness - or, as I prefer to call it 'mental unwellness'.
We need each other for support, we need each other to witness and reflect and to point out strengths, we need the people who have been through similar challenges and come out the other side relatively intact. I have become so very passionate about the concept of peer support since my brush with insanity.
Folks with mental illness need more than psychiatrists who pathologize and counsellors who sympathise . We need support from our peers - from those who've been there. Those who don't just understand that depression can be tough and deadly, but who know it - know it intimately, know it personally and deeply.
And in the past 2 years, again and again, I'm called into this role of support for the depressed, the anxious, the manic, the reeling-and-in-recovery. I work with clients around mental health in community acupuncture and private sessions. I've taught workshops and facilitated classes and organised support groups. And still, there are gaps.
And so, time for a new offering. For folks that don't want the needles. That can't be comfortable yet in groups. For whom professional counselling is financially inaccessible. I've had to limit the amount of time I spend meeting people for coffees and walks to chat mental health - all the running around was no good for my mental health, unfortunately. And so I've decided to open up some space in my home acupuncture practice for Mental Health Peer Support offerings.
This isn't meant for those in acute crisis, but rather those in recovery - who are stable enough to begin to integrate some of what they've been through. Who are looking for some community with similar lived experience. You come, we drink tea and chat, and together we discover supportive practices and resources that work well for you. I'm offering these services on a pay what you can afford basis to ensure accessibility for those in need. Because we all need help sometimes.