Coffee County Manchester Public Library is providing space for consultation with an area certified peer recovery specialist that focuses on helping veterans.
Veteran Doug Dietz, a certified peer recovery specialist and Coffee County resident, has a big passion for helping others. As a combat veteran with 21 years in the Marines, his personal journey of growth and recovery is exactly what the State of Tennessee was looking for to help others.
“As a Vietnam and Desert Storm veteran with combat tours under my belt, I experienced things that most people couldn’t imagine. This really can have an impact on anyone,” Dietz said. “Back then, there really wasn’t a lot of resources available to us veterans, which is why so many turned to alcohol or drugs to numb themselves of the horrors of war.”
This prompted Dietz to give back to the community and to become a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist through the State of Tennessee.
“What’s great about this program is that it is available to anyone in the state of Tennessee who has been impacted by mental health trauma, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or drug and alcohol abuse who want someone who can just listen to them and relate from their own personal experiences in a completely non-judgmental way. This is vital for a lot of people who are skeptical or hesitant to seek formal treatment. Although this program is not intended to replace formal treatment, but rather compliment appropriate treatment services.”
Dietz went on to say, “There appears to be a stigma associated with those who seek mental health, drug or alcohol treatment and that’s very concerning, when in fact, what we should be doing is recognizing and accepting that these conditions impact every member from every walk of life and embrace a productive environment built on solid principles and trust to get these people living the life they deserve.”
Peer support is an evidenced based approach that directly aids in the recovery of individuals with mental health or substance abuse disorders by providing peer workers who can connect through their own personal experiences.
“It’s very similar to why veterans feel most comfortable talking to other veterans, there’s a level of trust and respect that is only gained through our shared experiences of trauma. There simply is no substitute for that,” Dietz said.
“Whether it’s someone out there suffering alone – a caregiver, or a family member or friend who just wants to help – this program has a track record of success and ultimately strengthens our communities and those that need it the most.”
To learn more about Certified Peer Recovery Specialist Program or to find a local Peer Support Center, visit the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services website. You may also call 800-560-5767 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (except state holidays).
If you feel you are experiencing a mental health crisis, call the Tennessee Statewide Crisis Line toll-free 24 hours, 7 days a week at 1-855-274-7471.
Dietz is available locally to talk. Contact him at 931-581-0506 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.