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Make A Difference After Graduation: Become A Mentor


Mental Health Treatment

Graduating from any drug and alcohol treatment centers in Florida is quite an accomplishment. Whether you spent time in a detox center in South Florida or a mental health facility in Florida before you earned your recovery and freedom from substance abuse, all of this time and these experiences were valuable to you, and now you have the tools to help others along their path to sobriety.

Rehab centers in Florida, such as Fort Myers mental health facilities, welcome your time and your talents. You can work in a variety of settings or create your own volunteer opportunities. Here are several ways you can make a difference as a mentor.

Office Work

Florida treatment centers use a variety of volunteers to help run the day-to-day operations of the center. If you have cleaning talents or janitorial skills, use your time to maintain the center that helped you heal. Or, if your passion is communication, volunteer to answer phones at any detox center in Florida where you can be a compassionate person on the other end of an addict’s life line. Use your knowledge to put people in contact with the right professionals to begin their detoxification and rehabilitation. Other ways to use your skills in an office environment include record keeping, filing, bookkeeping and organizing.

Creative Expression

If you have creative and artistic talents, use your skills to encourage others’ passions for art, such as drawing and painting, or use your creativity to help others write their story. Drawing, painting, sculpting, sewing, writing and other creative outlets are important self-soothing techniques to help reduce stress and keep a person’s mind occupied. Depression treatment centers in Florida are looking for creative people like you who can reach others struggling particularly with dual diagnosis, such as depression and alcoholism.

Providing Transportation

Perhaps the thought of remaining inside a Florida alcohol rehab center after you’ve graduated does not sit well with you. Maybe you want to help, but it is uncomfortable for you to spend a lot of time at the center. You can still volunteer your time and transport clients. Clients need to do things outside the facility, such as visit the doctor, see their family, go shopping and speak with a lawyer. If you have a valid driver’s license, you can open up the world for them in a safe way. They will feel your support and mentorship and you get to give back.

Peer Support

Florida mental health facilities often use peer support to reach clients. You are qualified to offer peer support to others going through detox, rehab or treatment at a mental health facility. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has this to say about peer support: “By sharing their experiences, peers bring hope to people in recovery and promote a sense of belonging within the community.”

Peer support shows that you understand what other clients are going through. You have been there and you are proof that there is a positive outcome to treatment. By providing peer support, you have the ability to help others feel confident in their desire to change. You provide encouragement and motivation as they find their way to a sober, healthy life. Your story provides strength and healing to clients and can promote a faster recovery. When clients feel understood and validated, they are then ready to accept treatment and make changes.

As a supportive peer, you also have resource contacts to help clients get the best care and treatment. Plus, you can take clients to social events and help them feel included in the community. Alcohol-, drug- and tobacco-free events might be new to the clients; you have the means to show them that this new way of entertainment is fun and rewarding. SAMHSA shows that clients who receive peer support are less likely to relapse and more likely to find meaning and purpose in their social lives.

As your experience grows, the drug and alcohol treatment centers might ask you to facilitate group sessions, educational events and promote National Recovery Month.

Youth Peers

Regardless of your age, you can use your talents after graduation to help others. SAMHSA promotes youth recovery by using youth peers for their programs, such as Youth M.O.V.E. (Motivating Others through Voices of Experience), which supports young people dealing with mental health challenges. Another program, Young People in Recovery (YPR), is facilitated by youth who have experienced substance abuse issues or addictions.

Social Inclusion

As a mentor or peer support, one of the biggest ways you can impact people going through a Florida alcohol rehab center is to increase their involvement in the community. After rehab, recovering addicts often deal with judgment, negative perception and prejudice. As a mentor, you can help them find inclusion into the job market, educational system, community programs and volunteer organizations. You can take clients to events, help job seekers build a resume and accompany parents to school functions if needed. Your involvement can be as extensive or as limited as you like, but should be based on what your peers need. With your help, clients can find work and feel that they are a contributing part of a community. This is extremely important in preventing relapses and helps to overcome mental health concerns such as depression. The less isolated people are, the better they feel.

Be Unique

If you question whether your life of addiction and recovery was necessary, view it as a way to help others. If cleaning, doing art, driving or mentoring do not appeal to you, discover new ways to volunteer and help others. Ask yourself what you needed during your transition from addiction to recovery. Did you want someone to sit with you? Did you want to hear stories of motivation? Or, did you want someone to play games, read books or watch movies with you? Maybe you are active and a walking buddy was all you needed? You can be all of this and more to clients and truly have an impact on their recovery. You can make a difference by creating your own path for helping others through treatment.