Every month, NYAPRS identifies a PROS program to showcase their excellence in recovery and rehabilitation. Here you will find program descriptions and the curricula that support it.
If you are interested in sharing with us the special work your program is doing, please see the information at the end of this webpage.
This month’s PROS PROVIDER is:
Franklin Recovery PROS
Jessica Oppenheimer, Director
As practitioners, we know how engagement in our PROS program can produce outcomes. Engagement can lower hospitalization rates, increase successful discharges, and have a dramatic impact on health. In fact Holt- Lunstad, Smith, & Layton (2010) studied over 300,000 individuals and found that the “influence of social relationships on the risk of death are comparable with well-established risk factors for mortality such as smoking and alcohol consumption and exceed the influence of other risk factors such as physical inactivity and obesity” (p.14). The study showed that the impact of strong social relationships determined a 50% increased likelihood of survival. With that understanding, the staff at Franklin PROS wanted to ensure that we were fostering social relationships from the moment a new client walked into the building. By increasing the chance that a member would enjoy his or her first day, we felt this would allow individuals to focus energy on healing. We therefore created a volunteer peer mentor program to welcome and orient new individuals to PROS.
The basis for the peer mentor program was two-fold. One part was the opportunity to have greater engagement with our new members. The second part was to give our existing clients a chance to practice interview skills, social skills, develop relationships, and gain experience in what could possibly lead to a paid position as a peer. On staff, we have a paid part-time peer advocate who interviewed and trained interested candidates. The training includes an explanation for the volunteer peer mentor program, reviewing the checklist for peer mentors, appropriate questions to ask a new mentee, traits that are needed for positions of leadership, and behavior expectations while in program. To provide continued support, our part-time peer advocate facilitates a weekly mentorship community living exploration class that peers attend to gain knowledge about community resources that they can also share with their mentees. The volunteer peer mentors also received training in trauma-informed care in order to provide our incoming clients with the most safe, empowered, and trustworthy environment.
By using our volunteer peer mentors,we find that clients are more likely to remain in the program and get acquainted faster. Peer mentors can direct clients around the building and explain basic program guidelines. One client who had been admitted into the program for a few months but was having difficulty making it in on a regular basis started attending every scheduled session after being linked with a volunteer mentor. That linkage with the peer also inspired the client to start talking to other PROS members and even start applying to jobs! Two months later, she was sitting at her first interview. One of our volunteer peer mentors had this to say when sharing her experience as a peer in the program: “I love it! It feels great to be able to help somebody. Being a peer mentor has helped me to understand what it truly means to help others. The best part about the role is seeing my peer’s expressions when I reach out to them. Many peers have difficulty asking for help so, I can be that helping hand. Being a peer mentor has also assisted me in my recovery. I’ve been able to go back to school, be less self-centered and my mental health symptoms have decreased. I would suggest to others to be a peer mentor, it would help build themselves and help them through recovery.”
Our volunteer peer mentors have shared how empowered they feel by the mentor program and the social relationships they have developed. These same relationships that Holt-Lunstad et al. (2010) found to determine health and survival are providing our clients with an advantage. They have experienced increased self-esteem, confidence, and contribution to others. The peer mentors have become more committed to their own recovery as they are now setting the example for others. We use the peer program as an intervention for participants who frequent the hospital or want to make progress on a social goal. Mentors have the opportunity to include their experience on a resume and utilize skills that demonstrate growth in a number of rehabilitation goal domains. The benefits have been plentiful and the connections that have developed will outlast every PROS stay. All of this is due to the social relationships created through the volunteer peer mentorship program.
Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T., & Layton, J. B. (2010). Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review [Abstract]. Pmed, 1-20. Retrieved from http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316
Lake Shore Mentorship – Learning Community Resources Curriculum – Click HERE
Lake Shore Peer Mentor Duty Checklist – Click HERE
Lake Shore Trauma Informed Care Presentation – Click HERE
NYAPRS is please to highlight the work of Lake Shore Franklin Recovery PROS. Jessica Oppenheimer, the Director, and her team have worked to create a peer mentorships program designed to engage people quickly and foster strong social relationships. As always, if you have any questions regarding their program or would like to request resources used in creating these protocols, please reach out to Jessica directly. Her email is JOppenheimer@lake-shore.org
What about YOUR Program?
If you are interested in sharing with us the special work your program is doing, contact us and provide information about your program and what specifically you are interested in us showcasing.
Send an email to:
Ruth Colón-Wagner, LMSW
Director of Training and Development