Wrestling with addiction

There are times when the enemy that we must confront comes in the form of a demon that was once seen as a friend. It’s easy to understand why someone might turn to alcohol, or to altering the intended use of prescription drugs, or using ‘street drugs.’ There are anxieties to soothe, social worlds to navigate, and hard times where someone just needs some way to make it through. Here I’ve urged seeking help through…

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Peer Support – Part 5 – Appendix

This post presents the “number crunching” used to make the points given in the final part of the series on peer support. I thought it might make sense to look at the numbers to see an alternative perspective. I’m a stats guy. I have fun with numbers, and wanted to run through this exercise to guesstimate the size of the impact for clinical intervention given the many holes that exist before a person reaches care. Again,…

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Peer Support – Part 5 – Opportunity

Community helpers matter

I have thus far presented a case that peer support could be considered a promising practice based on research, theory, and a solid historical background. The final step in this series is to present an argument for suicide prevention to invest in peer programs (sooner the better). Folks keep asking, “Why haven’t we made a dent in the suicide rate?” Some say that it’s because our interventions are not effective. Yet, we have studies that show…

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peer support – part 4 – research

In prior posts I have provided a basic intro to peer support, some highlights from its history, and theories related to how it can contribute to suicide prevention. The next step is to provide research evidence that provide the foundation for describing this as a promising practice worthy of investment. Note: As described here and consistent with others, a “promising practice” is a program or other intervention that has the potential to effectively address suicidal…

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Peer Support – part 3 – Theory

Peer support has a long history and has garnered support from many important sources, as illustrated in part 2 of this series. Connecting someone who has survived a suicidal crisis to peers is one of the core values in The Way Forward, which states: As peers, we can provide social support and a sense of community while also sharing experiential knowledge and practical advice about coping skills, serving as positive role models for others. Furthermore,…

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Peer Support – part 2 – History

The intent of this second post is to illustrate that the concept of peer support is not new, and has a long and impressive history, which has included support from sources including SAMHSA and the U.S. Surgeon General, among others. This is not meant to be an exhaustive review of the history, but to provide a solid reference point. Highlights from the History of Peer Support   Suicide Attempt Survivors in Suicide Prevention As noted…

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Peer Support – Part 1 – Basics

There have been questions from multiple sources about recommendations about use of peers in suicide prevention that are included in The Way Forward, released by the Suicide Attempt Survivors Task Force of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. This sparked the series of posts that will present my perspective on the topic. To begin, it seemed right to begin with some basics about what I’m referring to by “peer supports.” What is a peer? A…

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