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Look who was featured on NJ.com... Mercer Council OORP's very own, Stacey Ross!

IMG-0604 From L to R: Stacey Ross and Jocelyn Cooper at a Recovery Focused Event, Summer 2020

So many faces and voices of recovery have paved the way for countless others to reach their goals with the hope and healing that is generated through connections, support and a shared peer recovery experience. 

One of the faces and voices making a huge impact in the recovery community is Mercer Council's own, Stacey Ross, a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist with our Opioid Overdose Recovery Program.  We are so proud of Stacey, whose voice and story were featured recently in NJ.com, and in the Sunday April 25th, 2021 print edition of the Times of Trenton.

Stories of recovery are so critically important, especially today when individuals have lived lives filled with trauma, food and resource insecurity, negative impacts of inequitable systems, mental health related challenges, financial hardship, and difficulty accessing care and services due to lack of availability or limited access to healthcare/insurance.  Add a looming 1+year pandemic to the mix, and we've seen each of these existing conditions exacerbated, leading to increases in isolation, illness, fear and anxiety, declining wellbeing, increased difficulty accessing critical resources, hopelessness and despair.  For many, one way to cope, escape, decrease hopelessness and feel better, is by utilizing substances. 

In various systems, including treatment and recovery, historically the focus has often been on deficits, character flaws, hardships and challenges that have led to an individual's substance use.  Today however, treatment and recovery programs, such as Mercer Council's Opioid Overdose Recovery Program (OORP) work from a person centered approach that meets people where they are and approaches care from a strengths-based perspective to promote hope that recovery is possible and that there are unlimited pathways to recovery.  Programs like OORP also focus on systemic factors that have broadly contributed to substance related challenges and work to increase access and remove barriers for individuals and our community.

When individuals like Stacey engage in this "heartwork", and are willing to be vulnerable and share their experiences, safe spaces that are free of stigma are established and within the safety of the space, growth, change, healing and recovery are possible.  Our entire team of amazing Peer Recovery Specialists on the OORP Program all have lived experience in recovery that they can leverage to inspire those who are struggling that recovery is possible!

If you are interested in learning more about recovery or are interested in recovery support services, please contact our OORP Patient Navigator, Brian Bittings at (609) 651-1623!

Check out the article featuring Stacey and her story, here!

(Article written for NJ.com, titled "Sober for years, recovery coach persists, helps addicts through pandemic" by Kevin Shea)

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