The Special Messages Peer Support Group challenges the mainstream view of “psychosis” with the concept of “Special Messages,” and seeks to engage isolated individuals who experience limited community participation. Group members learn how to support their own wellness and the wellness of their peers by identifying trauma and negative thoughts, and increasing self-acceptance.

This group endeavors to redefine society’s understanding of psychosis as an experience that does not limit people’s ability to make a positive contribution to society. Special Messages asserts that group members are fully capable of making their own life decisions.

Training, Outreach, Fieldwork, and Peer-to-Peer are four fundamental phases implemented in the structure to achieve success of the project’s goals.

Phase I – Training: The training phase includes twelve sessions of innovative curriculum designed to reduce “message” crisis and more clearly communicate shared experiences to influence wellness. In phase I, the team began the transformation from someone who receives services to someone who is a peer service provider. Each person learned how to use their personal experiences and support the wellness of peers by identifying trauma and negative thoughts, and increasing self-acceptance and wellness.

Phase II – Outreach: An extensive outreach campaign is designed to introduce the project to service providers, supporters, and isolated individuals. During this phase, the peer service providers began to build trust, effectively communicate and educate the public about the project.

Phase III – Fieldwork: Fieldwork is an extension and more personalized approach to the outreach efforts to create a foundation for the peer to peer work. During this phase the peer service providers shared their personal stories, handed out business cards and fliers, and became a consistent presence to stimulate safety and trust in the community.

Phase IV – Peer-to-Peer: Peer-to-peer work includes peer support groups and one on one relationships with individuals. During this phase collaborative relationships as a peer service provider team with service agencies/supporters to implement and provide individual/group peer-to-peer support services.