Peer Support

Onsite Peer Support Groups

Our NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group follows a peer-based, mutual-support model. It comprises individuals who have in common the experience of living with mental illness. It provides a place to share experiences and use them as learning opportunities. Connection groups are a safe space to confront the challenges that people with mental illnesses face, including low self-esteem, social isolation, co-occurring disorders, stigma, and discrimination.

Groups meet once each week. The meeting will often start with a lecture or storytelling and will end with group participation. Tips for getting the most out of a stay in the hospital, recovery model discussions, issues of care posttreatment, and topics to address stigma and develop hope are central to the group. Peer specialists promote recovery, enhance hope and social networking through role modeling and activation, and supplement existing treatment with education and empowerment.

Michael Oher, M.Ed.

Michael Oher is our peer support group facilitator. Michael holds a master’s of education degree and has been a teacher and coach for many years. He is peer support certified by the State of Virginia. He has been a NAMI facilitator for 5 years in a peer-to-peer capacity.

In addition to his work with the group, Michael spends time each day meeting new patients and orienting them to the facility. He also works to build a therapeutic bond with each patient in order to facilitate communications with staff or other patients in the community.