FHR co-sponsors campaign for mental health recovery

Published 07/26/2011

Persons served at Fellowship Health Resources participated in a "Speaking of Hope" event in Massachusetts

Speaking of Hope
Peer Specialist Ron G. talks about what motivates him to help other people.

New Bedford, MA - July 26, 2011 - Fellowship Health Resources, Inc. (FHR) worked in conjunction with the Transformation Center of Roxbury, MA, to host "Speaking of Hope" at the Lawler Library as a campaign for mental health recovery.

FHR persons served, peer specialists, and staff members from the New Bedford and Fall River areas spoke at the event that was funded by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). FHR Director of Peer Recovery Services Bob Rousseau was one of the participants who shared his story of recovery.

“My story could be described with a series of events all beginning with the letter ‘S’,” Rousseau explained to his peers. “I started with a secret, lived with the stigma of having a mental health illness, turned to drinking and getting ‘smashed,’ and then was able to find serenity.”

For a few FHR members, this was the first time that they publically spoke about their story of recovery. “It’s a wonderful thing to be able to stand up here and share your story with your peers,” Rousseau says. Scott Francis, a former employee of FHR who now works at the Transformation Center, believes that workshops and public forums such as “Speaking of Hope” really aide in the journey to recovery.

“Recovery is real,” Francis says. “Sharing your own story helps you acknowledge the progress that you’ve made on your own and allows your peers to empathize with the challenging feelings and stigma that you’ve dealt with. We’re all here to inspire hope and to build a sense of community.”

The persons served participating in “Speaking of Hope” represented a multicultural and inclusive community. “I’ve learned that what other people think of me is not nearly as important as what I think of myself,” says Karen S., a person served in New Bedford. “If there’s hope for me, there’s hope for everyone.”

Peer Specialist Ron G. shared how he feels motivated to help other people. “I really believe in the concept of paying it forward. The power of respect and kindness can never be underestimated,” Ron said. “I still remember a nurse that truly cared and didn’t act like I was just another patient being admitted into the hospital. When someone is nice to you, you can repeat that act of kindness towards someone else. The kindness can have a ripple effect that really helps in a path to recovery.”

As all steps in recovery, “Speaking of Hope” is a work in progress. The Transformation Center will host another “Speaking of Hope” event on August 19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Roxbury Community College. Friends, family, staff members, and persons served are all welcome to attend. For more information, please contact Scott Francis at 508-971-5421.