Robert Rousseau was recently promoted to director of peer-recovery services at Fellowship Health Resources Inc. He has been with Fellowship Health Resources since 2008 and most recently served as Northeast regional director of peer-recovery services. Rousseau holds a master’s of divinity from Loyola University and an M.A. in theology from the University of Notre Dame.
PBN: How does one achieve the certified peer specialist and certified level 2 group wellness recovery facilitator designations you hold?
ROUSSEAU: Certified peer specialists in Massachusetts are trained through the transformation center in Boston. Peer wellness coaches in Rhode Island receive their certification through peer trainers from Yale University. After I completed the classroom training, I had to pass both a written and oral exam in order to be certified as a peer specialist.
PBN: You will be presenting at the 28th ACT Association Conference in May; what will you be presenting on?
ROUSSEAU: Myself and Patricia Kenny, the metro Boston and southeastern area director of the Mass. Department of Mental Health, will be unfolding the content and process of a new best practice in behavioral health care called Peer Support Whole Health and Resiliency. This program was developed by Larry Fricks and Ike Powell of the Appalachian Consultant Group in direct response to the study commissioned by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. … This study found that persons living with mental illness die 25 years sooner than the general population. … [And it] has served as a catalyst to create a “whole health” model of treatment that no longer considers physical health, mental-emotional health and spiritual health as separated or unrelated elements.
PBN: Can you tell us more about the three-year strategic plan you will now oversee at Fellowship Health Resources?
ROUSSEAU: [The] three-year strategic plan seeks to implement six goals:
• [To] work with FHR’s nine regional directors to hire more peer-support workers and peer specialists.
• [To] continue to work with our department of quality improvement to hold person-served satisfaction and improvement forums.
• [To collaborate] with the [David L. Taton Learning Institute], FHR’s training faculty, to offer all of our employees training in wellness/recovery competency.
• The implementation throughout the agency of Wellness Recovery Action Planning for mental-health leaders and clinicians.
• To implement Peer Support Whole Health and Resiliency.
• To collaborate with the development of FHR’s Studio 35 initiative. •