This idea of reciprocal peer support – the theory that acknowledges the benefit of counseling for both the peer supporter and the caller being counseled – is relatively new in the mental health arena, says Program Director Cherie Castellano. “In the field of mental health, you’re not encouraged to say you feel good helping others feel good,” she says, “but when as a peer supporter I can share my experience and resilience as part of the process it is affirming for myself and the peer I am counseling.” During the session, peer counselors from each helpline shared stories of difficult and rewarding calls and discussed ways to manage situations that may arise.
The session was covered by Central New Jersey’s Courier-News, which details the mission of the four helplines and shares the stories of counselors Nakeishia Knox of Mom2Mom, and Richard Dvorin, a retired police officer who became a Cop2Cop peer counselor in 2005 and switched over to Vet2Vet in 2006 after his son was killed in Iraq.
Name: Patti Verbanas
Phone: (973) 972-7273