DBSA celebrates peer support champions during Mental Health Month 2017!
Michael—Chapter Volunteer Profiles in Dbsa.
Michael has volunteered with the DBSA South Florida Chapter for a little over two years. He serves a peer support group facilitator and an officer on their Board of Directors. As a peer living with bipolar disorder, Michael first saw DBSA as a place to seek help and quickly “felt the appeal to help others as well.” After only three months as a support group participant, Michael became a facilitator. He enjoys his role and notes that the best part is, “the comradery … being able to connect with people productively.” He states, “It’s an environment where I am accepted, help others feel warmly accepted, and find friendships. Our groups are the farthest thing from a pity party; rather, we strive to ‘stay in the solution.’ At the same time, we offer a lot of empathy, compassion, and understanding to build trust, providing a springboard to help people improve their lives.”
During his time as a volunteer, Michael is most proud of completing attaining 501(c)(3) status, which allows his chapter to collect tax-deductible donations. This allows for revenue growth, and thereby gives the chapter the opportunity to help individuals affected by mood disorders. His primary drive is the high value he holds for completeness. He explains that he has a desire to completely manage his mental health; and that “For me, that is only complete once I ‘pay it forward’ and support others in kind. I value both making an impact in my own life and in those of others.”
Michael is proud and excited by the work he does with DBSA South Florida. He shares the following advice for any current or prospective chapter volunteers:
“Take the training for the chapters on the website. Look first over the Facilitator Guide, and then watch the Facilitator Training Video.
Work together past personal differences and difficulties, for the good of the whole chapter. Remember, everyone here is dealing with their own version of a mood disorder. We all value our chapter and have its best interests at heart.”
Finally, know that your volunteer work with DBSA could well lead to permanent employment. Note: Michael now works as a Certified Peer Specialist for MHA of Palm Beach County.
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