As a grassroots organization, CONNECT Summit County is the people’s voice for mental health. We are a group of ordinary people who are concerned about the mental health challenges facing our community. CONNECT Summit County’s greatest strength comes from our knowledge of mental illness on the ground — initially from the experience of families struggling to find mental health services in Summit County and complemented by our extensive knowledge about existing service providers. Core to our work are the community members with lived experience of dealing with a mental health challenge.
Launched in November, Peer CONNECTions is a volunteer program that empowers community members to help people navigate mental health resources in Summit County. Through this program, CONNECT Summit County is training volunteers who have the lived experience of having a behavioral health condition and/or by a family member who has the lived experience of supporting someone with a behavioral health condition.
When equipped with appropriate training and resources, Utahns are very likely to help someone else in need. In fact, Utah supports the highest level of volunteerism in the nation (SERVE.gov). Peer CONNECTions is a program that matches volunteers with people seeking mental health support. Volunteers participate in customized training that teaches an understanding of mental health, crisis intervention, local resources, and how to offer emotional support through storytelling, as well as how to build boundaries to preserve self-care.
Peer CONNECTors give people and their family members a safe place to share their concerns with someone who understands and empathizes with them, which provides some relief and has a therapeutic effect. Volunteers are also trained to help people brainstorm options for obtaining supplemental support and resources until they can get in to see a mental health provider. Peer programming empowers everyone to find appropriate mental health services and support in a timely and effective manner, thus reducing much of the frustration and failure that often accompanies this process.
Our ultimate goal is to mentor and guide our community to be a safe space that recognizes that persons with mental health challenges — as well as those who are helping them to navigate their challenges — are not alone. We are doing this by promoting conversations about mental health, advocating for a stigma-free environment, and providing compassionate and quality resources.
Interested in being matched with a Peer CONNECTor? Fill out this form.