Evolving Mental Health Needs: Resilience, Advocacy and Peer Support

Meet The Peer: Jennifer Lazarus, Certified Peer Support Specialist

Jennifer Lazarus Certified Peer Support Specialist Mental Health

Sharing her experience with mental health, Jennifer Lazarus, a certified peer support specialist in North and South Carolina, joins host Whitney Menarcheck on this episode of Reduce The Stigma – Meet The PeerJennifer brings decades of lived experience to her role as a peer support specialist and offers a unique perspective to those struggling with mental health needs. Shedding light on her journey, the essence of peer support, and the importance of advocacy in mental health care, Jennifer speaks openly with the hope of defeating stigma surrounding mental health and disabilities. 

Jennifer’s mental health challenges began in her teenage years, with her diagnoses changing as she grew into adulthood.  Living with her diagnoses of bipolar type 3 depression, generalized anxiety disorder, OCD traits, and other challenges, Jennifer reflects on her experience navigating the mental health system and the necessity that the individual be part of decision-making.

As a result of her personal experiences, Jennifer was determined to find a way to help others. First, she considered pursuing a career in psychology, but determined instead to pursue peer support. 

Her involvement with organizations like NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) allowed Jennifer to volunteer as a facilitator for support groups in San Diego, California, before relocating to South Carolina, where she continued her dedication to peer support. With over two decades of experience, Jennifer is a seasoned peer specialist.

As a peer support specialist, Jennifer defines her role as walking alongside individuals struggling with mental health challenges, offering them hope and demonstrating that recovery is possible. Drawing from her own journey, Jennifer emphasizes the importance of a collaborative approach to treatment, where individuals feel empowered to advocate for their needs and explore various recovery pathways.

One aspect of Jennifer’s story that resonates deeply is her candid discussion about addiction, particularly non-traditional addictions like shopping and sugar. She highlights the chemical nature of addiction and challenges misconceptions surrounding these behaviors, advocating for a broader understanding of addiction beyond substance use.

Throughout the interview, Jennifer underscores the significance of person-first language and the importance of destigmatizing mental health conditions and disabilities. Her commitment to advocating for inclusive language reflects her belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every individual, regardless of their challenges.

In closing, Jennifer offers a heartfelt message of support to those grappling with their mental health, assuring them that they are not alone and encouraging them to reach out for help. Her words serve as a reminder of the power of connection and the transformative impact of peer support in the journey toward recovery.

Visit Jennifer’s website to schedule a peer support session today: https://jenniferlazarus.peerspecialist.us/


How to Watch

Reduce the Stigma Podcast

Watch on any device on ReduceTheStigma.com 

Reduce the Stigma on RokuTV

Install and Watch all Episodes on Reduce the Stigma RokuTV Channel

Reduce the Stigma on Amazon Fire TV

Install and Watch all Episodes on Reduce the Stigma Amazon Fire TV Channel

How to Listen

Reduce the Stigma Podcast

Our Podcast Website on Podops

Reduce the Stigma on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Apple Podcasts!

Reduce the Stigma on Spotify

Listen on Spotify!

Reduce the Stigma on iHeart Radio

Listen on iHeart Radio!

Reduce the Stigma on YouTube Podcasts

Listen on YouTube Podcasts!

Follow Straight Up Care

One thought on “Evolving Mental Health Needs: Resilience, Advocacy and Peer Support

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Register for the Directory

Get listed and found on the Straight Up Care directory site and app. Connect with other Peer Specialists, learn, and collaborate!

Register Now