Ed Yenor, Peer Specialist

Peer Support Specialists are individuals who have lived/personal experience coping with a serious mental illness or co-occurring substance use disorder. They act as role models and promote hope by using positive self-disclosure and demonstrating that recovery is possible by exhibiting competency in their own personal recovery. Because of their lived experience, such persons have expertise that professional training cannot replicate. They support individuals with struggles pertaining to mental health, psychological trauma or substance use; they also help individuals improve their quality of life by reaching greater levels of independence, community inclusion, and productivity. They Participate in the development and implementation of person centered plans. They work with consumers of mental health services both individually and by facilitating groups. 

Becoming a Peer Support Specialist is the second time in my life that challenges/ lived experience ended up leading to employment. When I was 11 years old, I became a ward of the state. I spent time in a number of foster homes. My most stable placement ended up being a home through Boysville’s (later renamed Holy cross children’s services) specialized foster care program. When I was 21 years old I was hired as a night staff at the Boysville/Clinton Campus. I went on to get a position as a Treatment Specialist and Eventually got hired by the State of Michigan- Adrian Training School where I worked for nearly 10 years. While there, I worked as a Youth Specialist, a Shift Supervisor, and trained of employees crisis intervention and physical intervention techniques.