Today we are joined by Kimberly Britt, the Executive Director of The Quiet Cave as she shares the value of peers and the groups.
WHAT IS PEER SUPPORT?
Peer support is a term used to describe the emotional and practical support between two people who share a common experience. This term is used most often in the addictions and mental health field, but it’s becoming more common.
Recognizing peer support is seeing that the lessons learned from living through hardship and recovering are valuable.
Research by the Mental health Commission of Canada has identified that peer support is a core contributor to recovery meaning that the support offered by those who have lived experience significantly contributes to a person’s recovery.
So often we think that people need degrees and medical training to be a supporter, but that’s not true. Support can come from lived experience.
Now I’m not recommending that lived experience is sufficient to offer medical treatment, advice, or therapy, but rather companionship, support, advocacy, and offering encouragement, and hope. These are unique and very valuable skills that peers can excel in.
And this is the kind of support that people come to the church for. The church is a community of people where we offer care.
THE THREE PILLARS OF CARE MINISTRY
I believe that the three pillars of care ministry are
In Episode 18, I go into more details but if you want to shift your church to have a culture of care, rather than just programs of care then you need to look at every department, program, and ministry and seeing how you can infuse belonging purpose and hope into every interaction.
And this is what My Quiet Cave is all about. They are a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating safe spaces for mental wellness through peer lead groups.
They equip peers to lead Christ-centered support groups in their churches and communities via their three small group programs. These are:
- Overcome for Adults
- Fearless for youth
- Fierce love for moms
These are Christ-centered groups designed to create welcoming communities focused on hope.
On hearing about these groups, I thought this was because they are easy to access and easy to navigate.
Essentially they are a turn-key mental health ministry allowing all churches, with low or high levels of resources to offer care for those who are struggling and they do this with those 3 small groups as well as a long-term support group format.
HOW MY QUIET CAVE WORKS
The peer group facilitators complete a 3-hour online training and are connected with mentors who will track with them through our there facilitating journey.
Churches can choose which groups would be most appropriate for their community and My Quiet Cave supports the peer leaders with training and mentorship.
As the Executive Director, Kimberly is the right person to share as she comes with wisdom from both her lived experience with anxiety and trauma as well as her clinical and leadership training.
She grew up on the gold coast of Mississippi with her younger brother. Unfortunately, like many people, Kimberly’s family may have looked great on the outside, Christian home with two parents and two kids.
However, there was a lot of instability and conflict and as the oldest, Kimberly took on the role of protector of her younger brother and her mom.
HOW DID ANXIETY IMPACT HER LIFE
- She failed to fit in at church
- Felt like she had to hide and pretend
- She thought she was a fake Christian because of the fear of expressing herself
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STRESS AND ANXIETY
Anxiety is the constant feeling that there is a threat yet there is none while Stress is caused by scenarios happening around us like the death of a loved one, loss of a job among others.
TOOLS AND STRATEGIES TO SUPPORT VOLUNTEERS TO BE PEER SUPPORTERS
- Create a cultural shift that creates a safe space
- Sharing stories and encouraging people to share their own
- Interacting with a variety of people in the church
- Care for people
HOW CAN MY QUIET CAVE SUPPORT THOSE WITH MENTAL HEALTH
Founded in 2011, My Quiet Cave equips people to lead mental wellness groups in their communities via their 8 week group programs for adults, youth and moms.
CONNECT WITH KIMBERLY BRITT
CONNECT WITH HOPE MADE STRONG