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October 10, 2019 by Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy & Ethics

Support for Peers from Peers

The Professional to Professional Support Listserv

Today, far too many professionals with mental illness are forced to live “in the shadows.” This is often because they are, quite understandably, unwilling or afraid to disclose their conditions and challenges to coworkers and friends, for fear of losing their jobs and place in the community.

As a result, professionals with mental health challenges often lack a resource others take for granted: peer support. Professionals in every field are taught to consult with their peers to discuss issues like work goals, client and coworker relations, and stress management.

However, for professionals with psychosocial disabilities justifiably afraid to live openly, this support is often unavailable. As a result, they can be less equipped to address common and concerning issues, negatively impacting their work performance and quality of life.

At Pro2Pro, professionals with mental health challenges can anonymously connect, communicate with each other, discuss common challenges, develop solutions, and give and get the support everyone needs to perform their best on the job and in life.

How do I join Pro2Pro?

To join Pro2Pro, send an email to our webmasters at cohrazda@law.syr.edu or jharri05@syr.edu asking to be added to the service.

What about Privacy?

We want you to be able to communicate freely, without fear of being identified or “doxxed.” Therefore, we recommend that you create a new, anonymous email address, with no identifying information, to use when you join Pro2Pro. That way, no one associated with Pro2Pro will know who you are unless you want them to and we’ll be able to maintain your privacy to the greatest extent possible.

Of course, it’s possible that a hacker or someone else may be able to trace you using your IP address or some other means, but we will do everything we can to protect your security and privacy – starting with not asking who you are, where you live, or what you do.

Who is Behind Pro2Pro?

Pro2Pro is sponsored by the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics at the University of Southern California, in partnership with the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University. Our founder, Elyn Saks, is a professional with mental illness and a nationally recognized scholar in mental health law and policy.

What are the Rules?

The rules are simple: Communicate. Freely and openly, but respectfully. Keep it clean and avoid personal insults. If you think a topic may be “controversial,” ask the listserv. It may be that people want to talk about it. Pro2Pro will have moderators with the power to step in if they feel a conversation is inappropriate or disrespectful. Our moderators may occasionally “seed” an issue in the hopes of spurring discussion.

Let’s Talk

If you watch the news or movies, they remind you, every day, what you already know: the world is not friendly to people with mental illness. If you’re afraid to live openly, you’re not alone. If you’ve hidden your condition from workplace or community peers, you’re not alone. If you don’t know how you’ll make it through your next stressful period at work or in life, you’re not alone.

Peers, people who’ve faced the same challenges and felt the same way as you, can help. Find them, and the support they can give, at Pro2Pro. You are not alone.

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