When a Presbyterian patient needs additional support due to substance use, their hospital care team can refer the patient to a Peer Support Specialist. A peer support specialist is an individual with lived experience with and in recovery from substance use and/or a mental health disorder. By sharing their stories, peer support specialists serve as mentors and guide others along the recovery path.
Peer support specialists share stories of their work and how it impacts their patients in this powerful
Peer Eric Lemke describes his previous experience of visiting the Emergency Department dozens of times before his recovery more than 15 years ago.
Now, he works as part of the ED care team at Presbyterian Hospital.
“To see a person’s face light up when you tell them that they’re worth it, that’s the best part of the job,” says Eric in the video.
Since the program started in 2019, there are now seven peer support specialists based in Emergency Departments at several Presbyterian hospitals as well as new virtual options to support patients throughout Presbyterian. With support from this year’s
Laughter is the Best Medicine event on August 27, the peer support program will further expand to support more individuals with mental health challenges.
Learn more about the program here.