Book Party for Peers & Allies

Book Party for Peers & Allies
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Jacques Peters, LCSW, a peer and author, hosted a party at his home to celebrate the publishing of his new book, Wales High School: First Diagnosis. An eclectic group of peers and allies gathered together north of the city, on a rainy night in early March, when fears of the coronavirus were spreading, but before it was declared a pandemic. But that didn’t stop the party. People came, and the experiences were priceless.

The people present formed a wide spectrum of generations. Some mental health survivors spoke of the recovery movement of the 1970s and 80s, and younger peers provided perspectives for after the millennium.

A young woman was concerned about the peer movement not taking into account that peers wanted to work in a wide variety of jobs, not just as peer specialists. It is vital, she argued, to raise consciousness about all professions and trades.

A longtime advocate talked about how the peer movement shifted as funding for peer services became available. This wasn’t necessarily bad, she said, but it changed the face of the movement, introducing new protocols and rules, while the original movement was fueled by the raw energy of people hungry for change.

The night wasn’t all serious. There was music, food and the antics of Jacques’ gray tabby Caesar. We reveled in each other’s company.

Jacques said a few words and presented a citrus cake iced to look like his new book’s cover. He has published two previous books: Small Fingernails: Even Less Love, and University on Watch: Crisis at the Academy, both fascinating memoirs of his academic days and struggles. The whole night was fun. Who said mental health has to always be serious? Party on, peers!

Eileen McManus

Eileen McManus

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