Louise Christie: What Peer Means to Me
24th July 2019
Louise Christie, SRN Assistant Director, tells us what peer means to her.
Being with other people who share some of our experiences and can understand where we are coming from is something very special. It is where we can be ourselves. We can be open and honest and give ourselves permission to explore and reflect on our own experiences and feelings.
Peer support has helped me to see things very differently and work my way through difficulties in my life. What was so powerful was the connection with people who had been through similar things and, I felt, understood me.
This allowed me to open up and be honest with myself and others. Their openness and willingness to share their strategies for dealing with challenges inspired a lot of hope. Being with people who I valued and admired and who shared some of my experiences helped me to see myself more positively and realise that my identity was far more than my problems. The realisation that my experiences had made me who I am and what I have to offer brought more meaning to my life and work. This felt really empowering and has enabled me to better cope with what life throws at me and to accept myself for who I am.
This personal experience of the power of peer support has been confirmed in my work with Scottish Recovery Network. Everywhere we work the importance of peer support in recovery emerges loud and clear. This is not just about the value of peer support in individual recovery but also about changing how we as a society view mental health and the role of people in their own and other people’s recovery. I believe that for our communities to be places where everyone has good mental health, and support when they need it, there needs to be a far greater role for lived experience in developing strategy and designing and delivering services and supports.
I feel privileged to have had so many opportunities to work with people who are using their lived experience to inspire and support others and to bring about positive change in local services, organisations and communities.
By working together, I believe that we can bring about the change we need in communities and services and support. The future is peer!
If you would like to contribute (written, filmed, audio, animation etc) to our What Peer Means to Me series contact Christine Muir, Senior Communications Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0141 240 7790 for more information.