Mountain Strong Peer Support Program Provides Healing and Mentorship
The Mountain Strong Peer Support program has created a positive ripple through the Eagle River Valley in its inaugural year. Peer support groups give community members a safe environment to share their emotions.
Research shows that peer support can have a transformative impact on individuals and families. Participation in peer support groups improves a person’s overall health and well-being, social skills, self-confidence, and social connections, and reduce hospitalizations and inpatient days.
Gerry Lopez, a Mountain Strong peer support group leader, says, “As more people get involved in peer support, I think it will be easier for participants to trust the process and build stronger connections.”
He notes how powerful shared personal experiences can be to developing a sense of openness that serves as a pathway to healing.
“It’s just painting the picture that nobody’s perfect. It opens up an opportunity to be more raw,” he says. “I always tell the kids I work with that trauma is like a backpack, we’re all carrying something.”
Kayla Weber got involved as a peer support group leader because of her own history with grief. After losing both her father and brother to substance-related events, she leaned into meditation, journaling, and yoga as a pathway toward healing and now helps others do the same.
“Everybody has grief, and regardless of how you consider your own grief, whether it’s big or small, everybody has to deal with it,” Kayla says. “What’s really cool about Eagle Valley Behavioral Health and the peer support model is that we are giving people the permission to feel how they’re feeling, and we’re helping to give them the tools to move forward.”
What makes peer support unique is that it’s led by a person with shared experience,” says Kayla Bettis.
Mountain Strong Peer Support
Mountain Strong Peer Support Groups offer ongoing group-oriented care with a qualified and vetted group leader.
Local groups include:
- Gay, Straight, or Anywhere in Between
- Supporting a LGBTQ+ Individual in Your Life
- Recovery Ride / Sober Sunday
- Hispanic and Latino Youth Mentoring (Gypsum and Edwards)
- Living With Chronic Pain
- Transgender and Non-Binary Support Group
- Pregnancy Loss and Fertility Challenges
- Pet Loss Grief Group
- Outdoor Connection for Locals
- Community Circle (Meditation, Sharing, and Connection)
If you are in need, we strongly encourage you to participate with others who are faced with similar challenges. Participation is free, and registration is confidential.
The Peer Support Program continues to grow. Visit mountainstrong.org/peer-groups for an up-to-date list and to sign up.