David Chapman and David Cooley were fortunate to meet Peer Specialists Larry Fricks at the State NAMI Conference in October. Larry has vast experience and credentials and achievements as a force for change in the public mental health system, where people with serious mental illness die, on average, 25 years earlier than the general population.
The Peer philosophy that Larry espouses focuses on individual's strength rather than illness. Recovery is no longer only about what clinicians do to consumers, it has become, with the assistance trained peers, what individuals do for themselves and each other. Peers are trained to assist in skills building, goal setting, problem solving, setting up and sustaining mutual self-help groups, and in helping individuals build their own self-directed recovery tools.
The mental health field has been shifting to this recovery model in the last few years because it’s effective, flexible, innovative, and offers choice and self-direction. Caramore’s Tier 3 project efficiently utilizes peers to sustain lasting recovery from mental illness, and in 2009, we plan to host one of Larry’s trainings to further the potential impact our experienced clients have in helping our newer clients recover and live well.
A short clip Larry Fricks appears in: